( pic behind the cutCollapse )
I did tweet that I thought it was inappropriate last night, and a bunch of others agreed with me because their feed was about 20 apologies in a row, but I thought I could better articulate it on their Facebook page. So I wrote this:
I've been shopping at Lane Bryant -- almost exclusively -- for about 16 years. I love the clothes, I love the fit, I love that I can find non-muumuu, trendier clothes in my size ... I could go on and on. However, the current flyer/catalog (I read you call it a "magalog"? ouch, that's bad) really gave me a bad taste in my mouth. I appreciate the attempt at "real women". I appreciate that it's an attractive picture. What I can't appreciate is that you made the choice to make it a cover photo. If you just thought it was a great photo and were all "real women" and "embrace curves", blah blah blah, it could have been on the inside where no one but the women who shop at Lane Bryant would have seen it. Choosing to place it on the cover tells me you just wanted to be titillating. Shocking for shock's sake doesn't make me shop at your store. Are you marketing to me, or my husband?
Here's the thing: years ago, my husband asked me to not to get the Victoria's Secret catalog anymore. Because I respect him, I cancelled mailings from them. When I saw this in the mail yesterday, it took me right back to that time. Really, it raises all kinds of questions. Why do you want half-naked girls on the cover of a CLOTHING CATALOG?! Are you selling half-naked women? Last time I checked, you would actually *prefer* that I buy both a top and bottoms. Wouldn't that be better for your bottom line?
Please hear me: I don't think it's pushing any sort of homosexual agenda, as some have noted. I don't think it's not a beautiful shot. However, I *do* think it's almost soft-core porn. I do think it's very clear none of those women is wearing a top or bra (ironic, because I happen to know you sell both). And the only conclusion I can draw is that you chose that pic because you knew it would be shocking. Putting that pic on the front means you are not marketing to me. You're basically just opting for the old "all publicity is good publicity" thing.
I'm sad, because I always felt like you actually DID understand me and my preferences, and now I know you don't. Do I want to look like those girls? Sure! But they don't need to be half-naked on the cover for me to want to look like them.
Women who receive your catalog have husbands and sons who don't need to see that. Have some decency. Think about your customers. Don't turn in to Victoria's Secret. Make nice clothes for us and sell them tastefully. I expected more from you, Lane Bryant. I'm also thankful that Old Navy now has plus sizes on line. We can "embrace our curves" with clothes on them, you know.
They replied nicely but cluelessly:
Hi Margaret - Thank you for notifying us of your thoughts regarding the Lane Bryant September magalog cover. Its intent is to feature a group of beautiful women proudly showing their figures and empowering our customers to embrace their own curves. We appreciate your opinion and apologize for any displeasure the photo may have caused you.
Again, we value your opinion and that you took the time to share it, and we will continue to offer the fashion and quality you expect from us.
Which I felt compelled to correct:
No; your intent was to shock. Please don't try to couch it in marketing spin. The women who get your catalog are intelligent, professional, world-wise women. Again I'll say: curves can be embraced with clothes on. Showing me half-naked girls who are too big to be "regular-sized" models doesn't "empower me to embrace my curves". Please. They don't even have back fat! You've made me laugh. Thanks.
And then I reminded them of this example of theirs which is utterly gorgeous (and ironically contains many of the same models):