Happy Monday, folks!
It’s days like these I miss FashionBombDaily.com, but have no fear! It will most likely be back up with a fresh face before the end of the month because I simply can’t stray for too long. At any rate, I received a DM earlier this morning from @NuYorkDreamer who sent the following picture from @Revolve ‘s #RevolveAroundtheWorld trip, writing, “Take a look at the comments on lack of diversity from Revolve and their bloggers. We need to shed light on this matter.”
I clicked and took a look. @FarahPink wrote, “Were all the influencers of color unavailable? Do better please.” @Fabulous_fashion_ootd added, “All of these girls look exactly the same! Where are the POC? Body types?? Curly hair maybe??” @TaraRichtell offered, “The only thing black at Revolve besides their font are the rap lyrics they use in their captions and the rappers they hire at their events to make them look current. Yawns…”
Lack of diversity on influencer trips isn’t new. In 2014, I noticed that RewardStyle.com did the same thing with an #RSWORKTrip down to Cabo. Surprise, there were no black or brown faces.
As a member of RewardStyle.com, I wrote my account manager at the time (I was and still am an affiliate) typing:
My e-mail is regarding the #RSWorkTrip. I follow Courtney Kerr, Song of Style, and a few other bloggers on Instagram, and followed the hashtag to see all the fun they’re having down in Cabo (looks like an amazing time!).
Something that stuck out to me was the lack of diversity. There are no brown fashion bloggers on the trip, and I began to wonder why.
In my head, I justified to myself that perhaps these girls were plucked because they have exceptional sales on Reward Style and spectacular followings (which I’m sure they do). At the same time, other bloggers, specifically those of color, don’t get to partake in these social functions and potentially further their brand, sales, and following by association.
I hesitated writing this because I don’t want to sound like I have any resentment towards the bloggers who were chosen to take this trip. There are innumerable fashionable events where bloggers like myself are not included and not even thought of as potential invitees. I also am aware that I’m spectacularly blessed in terms of the events and trips I’m invited to attend.
As you are well aware, lack of diversity is a huge issue in fashion, from the runways to editorials, and it has now carried on to the blogger world, a realm which is by nature supposedly more democratic.
At any rate, moving forward, perhaps you and members of your team can think of including brown faces.
My account manager responded, “I want to make sure that you know that #rSWorkTrip is a reward for 2013’s Top 5 performing publishers. This is the only reason that these women were selected for this over any other publisher. I am so sorry if this came across as disrespectful or discriminatory in any way. I absolutely understand your concern and would love to talk to you about how we feature publishers across rS and LTK. I’ve taken it upon myself to speak with our CEO and VP, and we’d like to find a way to feature you and any other bloggers that may feel underrepresented by our company. We of course want to support and celebrate you!”
Though Reward Style is different from Revolve, I can make an educated guess that Revolve’s reasons were similarly purely economic. They took a look at who encourages the most sales and bolsters their bottom line, then give them a free trip as a Thank you.
When companies evaluate their bank accounts, they don’t see black or brown, they see green. I’ll assume they don’t care about being politically correct or inclusive, even though it would be nice if they did.They care about selling clothes. Bottom line.
There are many companies that cater to and love the black consumer. I’ll go ahead and say black and brown people contributed significantly to Gucci’s dividends, giving them one of their most profitable years to date. The house saluted our community with an all black campaign and is showing love to hip-hop cultural design icons like Dapper Dan. Sometimes it seems kitschy or like tokenism, but unless a company also has senior level people of color behind the scenes, there is a strong chance they will make a misstep when attempting inclusivity. It’s the thought that counts (?).
At any rate, I’d suggest shopping elsewhere. There are LOADS of competitors that are more inclusive (even with model choices) and will happily take your hard earned cash. I personally rarely shop at Revolve, BUT was looking at this pair of BlankNyc Pants. They’ve been in my shopping cart for days!
Lastly, as I said on the Diversity panel at Create & Cultivate: If you’re a white or Asian influencer on this trip and look around and notice no black or brown faces, say something. If you are vocal about women’s rights, be vocal about every woman’s rights. Don’t stick your head in the sand: speak up! Let’s stand in solidarity. And if you follow those girls and see they don’t stand for anything or care about representing YOU, then maybe click ‘unfollow.’ Same goes for Revolve. Don’t follow them and don’t give them any more time, energy, or money.
Companies definitely worth a follow? I love shopping at Moda Operandi, Nordstrom, Shopbop, Net a Porter, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Farfetch, Luisa Via Roma, DSquared2, Christian Louboutin, Barney’s, the list goes on…
Love & Light,
**Once FashionBombDaily.com relaunches, I will reprint this there!