Forever 21 Labelled as “Tone Deaf” in Instagram Post

Ally Feiam By Ally Feiam | 01 May 2019

American label, Forever 21, learned recently that seemingly innocent posts on social media can instantly be coined as inappropriate.

With fast fashion becoming one of the industry’s largest issues, consumers aren’t afraid to criticise retailer’s “tone-deaf” social media content.

The retailer’s Indian social media account shared an image of a clothing label, reading “I probably won’t wear this again because it’s already been on my Instagram”. The label also read: “Made in China” and “100% fast fashion”. As soon as the post was published, it received instant backlash, with comments such as “How can you promote such a post?” and others boycotting the retailer.

Vogue’s Sustainability Editor, Clare Press, stated that the Forever 21’s intention was unclear, as the image is often shared amongst those who wish to raise awareness of the issue surrounding the industry, “The post was tone-deaf, and presumably created by someone who is unaware of the changing nature of the debate around fast fashion,” she said.

Fast fashion has been an issue rocking the industry for some time, with a myriad of brands pledging to reduce waste. Fashion giant, H&M, recently launched a sustainable label worldwide in an effort to increase sustainability. In Australia, THE ICONIC introduced a way for consumers to shop consciously, filtering and finding products that align with their personal values.

In 2018, Dolce and Gabbana’s founders, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana found themselves in hot water after three short videos were released on social media for their upcoming Shanghai runway show. The videos were deemed offensive and racist, and following extensive social media backlash, the luxury label was forced to cancel the show and publicly apologise for the content. Although the issue was not related to fast fashion, the controversial social media posts caused an outcry from consumers, with several posts boycotting the designer.

As fashion retailers begin to phase out their excessive fast-fashion tactics, small and seemingly innocent social media content can have a huge impact on a brand’s image, and can often lead to consumers paying closer attention to a brand’s efforts for sustainability.

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