This week's culprit is Tory Burch and an insensitive new campaign video, "#ToryStory: An American Roadtrip", which has already been removed from the brand’s channels, despite being posted just yesterday. White, slim model Poppy Delevingne takes centre stage between two other white, slim models in an ad directed by super-stylist Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert. The video, a campaign for the SS17 collection, was released on Tuesday and sees Delevingne dancing to Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall's "Juju On That Beat".
This, folks, is why brands should be wary of riding the hype wave. Earlier this week, Gucci did so fairly successfully, creating 'relatable' memes with our favourite meme-makers in a campaign that met the internet's general approval. Tory Burch, however, tried to capture the popularity of a song by two black artists, failing to note the cultural appropriation of featuring three white women in the ad. While some found no fault with the video - merely the awkward dancing - Twitter dragged the brand:
On top of the appropriation, Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall weren't named anywhere in Burch's ad, leading some to deem the brand a culture vulture - profiting off the creative output of the black community whilst failing to credit it. It's also worth noting how inappropriate the lyrics are for Caucasian women to (awkwardly) dance to: “Skinny jeans on and you know my hair nappy..."
According to Teen Vogue, Tory Burch apologised via an online platform – the report doesn't state which. The comment has since been deleted, and the video has been pulled from her site and social media channels. In a statement provided to Refinery29, the brand said: "The video was intended to celebrate music that we love with our spring collection. It was never meant to be insensitive in any way. We have removed the video from our channels. I personally feel very badly if this hurt anyone and I am truly sorry."
While the fashion and beauty industries are making strides towards true diversity and representation, it's moves like this that prove a maintained lack of awareness and insensitivity.
This story has been updated with a statement from Tory Burch.