How companies “Woke-Wash” their brands

By: Ella Tabor

Recently, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, there has been an uproar of sustainability and a level of awareness that brands are portraying. This is mainly due to the increased desire for political change from the public and the media. Businesses simply can’t risk facing any form of scrutiny. 

These brands aim to appeal to their consumers by releasing more levels of sizing, a deeper range of shades for make-up, an image of sustainability, and messages of empowerment or in support of equality movements; anything that makes the brand look politically correct. 

But, these brands, most often, do not actually support or employ the messages they say they do. 

The term “Woke-Washing” is used to describe business practices that are made to appear conscious, yet do not provide much substance. 

The art of performing a progressive move only for the public eye is nothing new. Take for instance the term “Glass Cliff”. Originally coined by women, the “Glass Cliff” refers to when a company promotes someone (most often minority and women) to an executive position under circumstances that make success improbable. Often, companies will do this to their leaders of color; they get all the praise for the progressive action and none of the criticism when they let them go.

For an example of this shady technique, let’s look at the brand Lululemon. Lululemon is a brand that focuses on athletic wear, athleisure, and healthy living. Lululemon portrays an image of inclusivity and equity yet, in 2019 the brand was mocked for promoting an event on “decolonising gender” and “resisting capitalism”. 

The brand was quickly shamed by the media and Twitter users for its ironic stance on capitalism, given the price vs. quality of their clothing. One Twitter user, Randi Max, says, “…Lululemon’s yoga pants cost $150 and you are telling me to resist capitalism?” 

Also, in 2019, the brand faced allegations that workers at a factory in Bangladesh, who make the brand’s clothing, had been beaten and abused according to The Guardian. Attempting to sweep this under the rug, Lululemon gave no proper response to these allegations. 

As we can see, Woke-Washing is truly just another form of performative activism; it forces false narratives of progressive actions without any of the action. 

Lululemon is only one example; however, there are many. Next time you shop at a store, it is worth looking into the brand’s ethics.

Sports schedule for: May 16-21

Met Gala 2022

The 2022 Met Gala is held every year, on the first Monday of May, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The theme this year was “The Gilded Glamour”. Celebrities were encouraged to wear something from the late 19th century with a modern spin on it. 

Kim Kardashian wore a Marilyn Monroe dress, the dress she wore in 1962 when she sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy. Kim wore the dress with a white fur coat and walked the carpet with her new boyfriend, Pete Davidson, wearing a Dior suit. Even though this was an iconic dress it wasn’t on theme.

Jodie Turner-Smith wore a Gucci gown and Stuart Weitzman heels. She went full 1920s; she was dressed in a fringed leotard with a full skirt. Her makeup was on point, and it embraced the era, but her outfit wasn’t on theme. 

Gigi Hadid wore a Versace suit and Chopard jewelry. She wore a burgundy latex catsuit and paired it with a  huge, floor-length puffer coat. Her outfit was all about volumes which went with the theme of Gilded Glamour.

Khloe Kardashian made her first appearance ever at the Met Gala, she wore a Moschino floor-length glittering gold gown. She completed the look with gold sunglasses and a long-sleeve black coat with black gloves. Her look was okay. The gloves matched up with the theme, but the outfit and gloves didn’t pair well together. 

The best dress of the night was Blake Lively, she knows how to make an entrance. She went with one of her go-to brands for the red carpet Atelier Versace, in a design inspired by New York City. The star arrived in a shimmering, rose gold, gown with a bow attached to the side. This idea was based on Manhattan’s intricate architecture and the Empire State Building. Her second look was revealed halfway up the red carpet stairs when the bow on the skirt was untied to reveal a cascading blue train, which was designed to inspire the decor of Grand Central station. The crown she wore symbolized the Statue of Liberty, which has seven rays. When ask about her look she said that “Instead of looking to fashion to influence the dress, I looked to New York City architecture and the classic buildings.”