ASOS found itself stirred in a pot of controversy this week when the brand tweeted out an image of its interns from the @ASOS_Careers account — an image that got people wondering about the company’s hiring practices.
The picture, which has since been deleted, shows a troupe of about 14 interns, all of whom happen to be white. The account’s followers couldn’t help but notice the marked lack of diversity in the image and immediately began to call out the retailer. Plenty of followers expressed disappointment at seeing an all-white class of interns, a few saying that the image was discouraging them from applying for an internship altogether since it seems ASOS doesn’t hire nonwhite people.
“We can model some of the clothes just can’t do other work?” @NaijaNupe tweeted. “Just want to know which job I should apply for since I’m dark.” While @simonejaay said, “Everyone is white :/ does someone like myself have a chance?” Some threw a little shade at the brand, like @BlessinggK, who said, “Look at how diverse your interns are, so many different ethnicities.”
For some, this may seem like much ado about nothing. Who cares if ASOS hires any Asian, black, Aboriginal or Native American people? Fashion is a tough industry to break into, especially for people of color. If a diverse group of people don’t get the opportunity to cultivate a foundation of skills early on, skills that could lead to other jobs, the industry will remain as whitewashed as it is now.
ASOS has profusely apologized to its followers on Twitter, encouraging skeptical people of color to apply for a job at the company, and also stressing that the photo, though unfortunate, does not represent the makeup of the ASOS team — both interns and full-time employees.