It’s practically a given that with creative expression comes criticism. To those who insert themselves into fashion industry, a tough skin is considered part of the gig. Each season, those at the pinnacle of the fashion pyramid trot out their hard work for the world to judge and we sit ready to critique the fruits of their noble efforts. If not for popular opinion, how would we know what’s praiseworthy and what’s a pass? How would Zara know what to manufacture?
Amazon Fashion’s latest European campaign takes issue with the industry — and people’s —innate tendency to judge. “Instagram alone has more than 82 million #OOTD (outfit of the day) posts. Sadly, criticizing and ridiculing people for what they wear, known as ‘outfit shaming,’ is also becoming more common. 55 percent of women feel they have been judged before on social media about their fashion choices,” reads the campaign’s press release.
“Say Something Nice” features international style bloggers like Susie Lau, Camille Charriere, Samar Seraqui de Buttafoco, Masha Sedgwick, Freddie Harrel, Gala Gonzalez, Clementine Desseaux (also known for her modeling work) and Hana Tajima (also a renowned fashion designer). Each influencer looks into what seems to be their laptop camera and shares a time when they felt judged for their appearance — both body- and style-wise.
Lau, whose Style Bubble is considered one of the OG fashion blogs and who gained her following thanks to her whimsical, unique tastes and keen eye, opens the series of intimate confessionals. “Clown, clown, clown, ugly, fat,” she says, describing jabs from social network users. Nevertheless, “their judgment does not change the way I dress, clearly.”
Other interviewees, like UK-based Muslim designer Hana Tajima, whose collections are praised for their cultural sensitivity, do not feel so immune to the negativity. “An offhand comment can stick with us for a lifetime,” she astutely observes. “I’m ready to go and just at the door and I’ll pre-empt those judgments and then I’ll go and change into something that makes me feel more invisible, makes me feel like I’ll fit in.”
Clementine Desseaux, a French plus-size model who, a few months back, was mistakenly labeled the new face of Christian Louboutin Beauty by news outlets like The Daily Mail, sending social media a-tizzy, has been told she “should be ashamed to be on TV. I should be ashamed to wear underwear at my size.” That said, “Of course I’ve judged someone else before,” Desseaux admits. (Sidenote: We’d like to #saysomethingnice about her perfectly tied headscarf.)
Desseaux is all of us — as are the other members of the group, who confess to having judged someone else for their stylistic choices. (“Guilty!” Harrel exclaims.) However, as the promo nears its end, each blogger pledges to change negative comments into compliments, respect and acceptance. “Let’s make fashion and social media a place where you can experiment without fear of judgment,” Tajima implores.
As the body count on body positive campaigns grows (#RunwayForAll, #IWishICouldWear, #HereIAm, etc.), we find that, more and more often, we can #SaySomethingNice about advertising campaigns, rather than calling them out, and we’ve gotta say, it is a great feeling.