I hope that your weekend has went well considering the chaos from the weather.
Today, I want to speak on a storm that has begun on social media.
It all started with a simple picture. Simplicity Pattern company released a picture on Friday, January 6, 2014 in order to promote its vintage patterns. The picture also promoted a new movie, entitled, Hidden Figures. The movie is based on the African American women and their contribution to science. The women made history, but their work was not celebrated due to their skin color, hence, being “hidden figures”.
The question may very well be asked, “What is the problem?”
The problem occurred when the company chose to use the face of a young Caucasian woman instead of an African American woman. The problem occurred when those in public relations just used a picture in the archives instead of researching the movie and it’s meaning. The problem occurred because the picture was suddenly deleted from its social media outlets WITHOUT AN APOLOGY OR EXPLANATION being issued.
I understand completely what they were TRYING to do, and yes, we all make mistakes. The considerate thing to have done was to issue a statement and apology for the picture and the message it sent to us, the consumers.
I am a woman of African American descent. I love vintage looks. I love to sew. I spend my money on patterns. We cannot be overlooked and side-stepped when it comes to promotional opportunities as well.
I think it was poorly done and in bad taste. The saddest thing, I realized, is that we women stood in solidarity on the original Facebook post before it was deleted. We aren’t just angry, eye-rolling black women. We are talented sewers just like anyone else.
We just wanted that moment, but it didnt happen. Simplicity could have easily used a picture from their many social media outlets to promote both the movie and it’s vintage patterns. They could have sponsored a Sew Along competition, Pattern giveaway, etc. It didn’t happen.
On the other hand, it did show that more people understood the stand that was taken against the photo. It also showed that the consumers have a voice, and we can choose to take our money and skills elsewhere.
I will look for a statement, but the damage has already been done. Hopefully, McCalls and the other Big Pattern companies can learn from your mistake.