Diversity is undeniably a talking point at the moment, with brands that previously spurned black models now scrambling for as many as they can feasibly fit on a catwalk.
These new attempts at diversifying are bittersweet. While it’s wonderful to see increased representation, at times it becomes downright desperate. A brand’s motivation is often as much about bandwagoning as a real desire to see the reality of the world we live in reflected in fashion.
And it’s never been more apparent than in the latest advertising campaign from South Korean fashion brand Stylenanda. In a flagrant attempt to show a commitment to diversity without actually having any commitment to diversity, the company have resorted to a new, equally as offensive iteration of “black-face” – “black-hand”. It’s an embarrassingly clear example of the lengths companies will go to in an attempt to feign representation.
A lack of inclusion has now left Stylenanda red-faced – and brown palmed
For their new campaign, advertising the lines 3CE layering nail lacquer in “soft orange”, they decided to depict both dark- and fair-skinned hands wearing their polish. But rather than go through the trouble of casting a black model with black hands, they seem to have simply blacked up the hands of an Asian model. They would have probably gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for the fact that black people have not and will never have black palms.
Whoever was responsible for the shoot simply can’t have come across many black people in their time, if any. It’s probably best to warn them that black people don’t have black soles on their feet, before they shoot their pedicure version.
This embarrassing faux pas is what happens when attempts at diversity are skin deep only; a lack of inclusion has now left Stylenanda red-faced – and brown palmed. Another case for the “ask a black friend” archive.