Revolving Contraversey

This company, founded in 2003 by Mike Karanikolas and Michael Mente, has been reportedly on track to make over one billion dollars in sales this year. Revolve is known for its daring, trendy clothing, and according to the Wall Street Journal, may be preparing for an initial public offering later this year.

The company’s founders are unique in having had no fashion experience before this adventure, and have found their success through analytical planning and trend following. They are goal driven and primarily focused on one group of people, millennial women.

They have been successful so far at avoiding controversy. That is until this fall.

Attention was drawn to the company when they posted a sweatshirt for sale with the quote “Being fat is not beautiful it’s an excuse.”

Fashionista reported that the sweatshirt was part of an LPA collection that featured shaming quotes that were said to celebrities like Lena Dunham and Cara Delevingne online. Other quotes included “Horrible Result of Modern Feminism” and “Too boney to be boned.”

Dunham spoke out after learning about the controversy, “For months I’ve been working on a collaboration with my friend Pia’s company LPA through parent company @revolve – sweatshirts that highlight quotes from prominent women who have experienced internet trolling & abuse,” she wrote. “Without consulting me or any of the women involved, @revolve presented the sweatshirts on thin white women, never thinking about the fact that difference and individuality is what gets you punished on the Internet, or that lack of diversity in representation is a huge part of the problem (in fact, the problem itself.) As a result, I cannot support this collaboration or lend my name to it in any way. ”

A revolve spokesperson replied to the comment, saying “”This morning, images of a forthcoming LPA collection were prematurely released on Revolve.com. The capsule collection—originally conceived by LPA alongside Lena Dunham, Emily Ratajkowski, Cara Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse, and Paloma Elsesser—was set to debut tomorrow as a direct commentary on the modern-day ‘normality’ of cyber-bullying and the shared desire to create a community for those most affected by the epidemic. The prematurely released images featured on revolve.com [were] not only included without context of the overall campaign, but regrettably featured one of the pieces on a model who’s size was not reflective of the piece’s commentary on body positivity. We at Revolve sincerely apologize to all those involved—particularly Lena, Emily, Cara, Suki and Paloma—our loyal customers, and the community as a whole for this error.”

Revolve has pulled the sweatshirts from the site and has promised to donate 20,000 dollars to Girls Write Now, the charity LPA had planned to give proceeds from the collection to.

Hopefully, this was a warning to other companies to shy away from prematurely releasing clothing without context, or even releasing clothing that can cause controversy by harming others.

Revolve’s stocks have not dropped in turn, and neither have their profits, but their customer loyalty is set to suffer.

Let this be a lesson to everyone, when it comes to fashion, play it safe- but play it smart. Play it kind, and play it well. Especially when it comes to millennial women.