Revolve Finds Itself In Hot Water After Releasing a Fat-Shaming Sweatshirt
And Lena Dunham is involved.
A few days ago, online retail giant Revolve released a piece of clothing with a message that many people (and the internet as a whole) is considering highly offensive. The gray sweatshirt in question (priced at $212, and modeled by a straight-sized white woman) had the words "Being fat is not beautiful, it's an excuse," emblazoned on it. (Insert eye-roll here.)
People on social media were quick to call Revolve out for fat-shaming and being extremely insensitive to women of all sizes. Body-positive activist Tess Holiday was one of the many influential women to give the brand a piece of her mind. "LOLLLLL @REVOLVE y'all are a mess," she wrote on Twitter alongside a screenshot of the sweatshirt. (Related: Fat-Shaming Could Be Destroying Your Body)
Katie Willcox, on the other hand, took to her Instagram stories and said: "This is not acceptable and I won't support companies who believe it is."
While body-shaming is still an issue in our society, it's safe to say that we've made some progress when it comes to accepting women with different body types. That's why it seems a little (actually, a lot) shocking that someone from Revolve would ever approve a clothing item like this.
Turns out, there is an explanation-albeit a questionable one. The sweatshirt was actually intended to be part of a clothing line meant to draw attention to the realities of cyberbullying. In fact, designer Pia Arrobio partnered with celebrities like Lena Dunham, Emily Ratajkowski, Cara Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse, and Paloma Elsesser, to create a series of slogan sweatshirts that featured hateful or negative comments each woman had received online. (ICYDK, Body-Shaming Is an International Problem)
But when one of the sweatshirts was put on Revolve's website, it didn't have any context of the surrounding campaign-so, naturally, a lot of people took offense to it.
Dunham has since taken to social media to share her frustration with the brand, explaining that she never approved for the sweatshirt to be put up on the website without debuting the overall campaign. "I cannot support this collaboration or lend my name to it in any way," she wrote on Instagram. "I am deeply disappointed in @revolve's handling of a sensitive topic and a collaboration rooted in reclaiming the words of internet trolls to celebrate the beauty in diversity and bodies and experiences that aren't the industry norm."
Revolve has also addressed the backlash and released the following statement to E! News yesterday: "The prematurely released images featured on Revolve.com was not only included without context of the overall campaign but regrettably featured one of the pieces on a model whose size was not reflective of the piece's commentary on body positivity. We at Revolve sincerely apologize to all those involved–particularly Lena, Emily, Cara, Suki, and Paloma–our loyal customers, and the community as a whole for this error." (Related: The First Plus-Size Supermodel Talks About the Evolution of the Body-Positive Movement)
What's truly ironic-and something social media users were happy to point out-is that Revolve only offers clothing up to a size 10. So women who may have felt empowered by this campaign likely wouldn't have been able to purchase a sweatshirt in their size anyway.
In an effort to make up for their lack of better judgment, Revolve has promised to donate $20,000 to Girls Write Now, an organization that provides mentoring to underserved young women and helps them find their voices through the written word.
Misunderstandings aside, there's something very problematic about Revolve's decision to model the sweatshirt on a straight-sized model, not to mention their limited size range. It just goes to show that we have a long way to go when it comes to practicing true acceptance and inclusivity in the fashion world-and not just doing it for show.