H&M South Africa issued an apology this week for Tweeting a comment that implied white models portray a more “positive image” for the brand.
The brand was coming off of their launch in the country when customers voiced concerns over the lack of diversity in their campaigns. Namely, that there were zero Black models in the campaigns.
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H&M want to convey the positive image of an SA without black folk. Basically. LOL. Yes. Ah. *exits* @after_thoughts_ pic.twitter.com/WehjGtfRMT
— Ottilia A MaSibanda (@MaS1banda) November 5, 2015
And that’s when things really hit the fan. The brand responded to its customers’ concerns by saying: “H&M’s marketing has a major impact and it is essential for us to convey a positive image. We want our marketing to show our fashion in an inspiring way, to convey a positive feeling.” So, basically they’re saying only white models can be “inspiring” and “positive”? I can’t. Twitter, of course, called the brand out for the ridiculous, insensitive and discriminatory response.
H&M in South Africa is asked why they dont have black models for their clothes on posters & this is their response😷 pic.twitter.com/KyKtdHP8dQ — M’s (@_ZuluRose) November 5, 2015
The brand has since attempted to clarify what it meant with the Tweets.
H&M regrets the response to a social media message that was recently aired on Twitter and wishes to clarify the intention of the message. In no way does H&M state that positivity is linked to an ethnic group. H&M is proudly a global brand that embraces all people who are inspired by fashion, regardless of ethnic background, gender or culture. We wish to [apologize] if our message has caused [offense] in any way as this was not the intention.
H&M regrets the response to a social media message that was recently aired and wishes to clarify the intention. pic.twitter.com/IybEBotudU
— hmsouthafrica (@hmsouthafrica) November 5, 2015