Before I jump into this topic I want to make a critical acknowledgement: I am not a POC, so my perspective is just observation as someone who is ultimately not directly impacted by oversights of this nature. For those who are impacted, I am angry and disappointed that this ridiculous, unacceptable phenomena persists. I hope if enough of us band together, express outrage, and vote with our dollars, that things will change.
I read a good article last week from Fashionista regarding swatches and inclusivity; while I’ve known that inclusivity and product development for a diverse range of skin tones IS a problem, I can’t fathom why, in 2018 it is so damn hard. Fair-to-medium skin tones are far from the only consumers looking to purchase cosmetic products. Yet when new brands or products from existing brands are launched, they seem to have that same myopic focus. Fenty knocked it out of the park with their 40 shade foundation range at launch; other brands are scrambling to catch up to their example.
Since, there have been more than one scandal involving swatch photos from multiple brands/houses/etc. Instead of doing the obvious thing, which would be to hire models of differing skin tones, the brands seem to either be painting or photoshopping models’ skin tones to appear deeper than they are. But all the whoevers were responsible – why?! And then, after making such a ridiculous decision in the first place they lacked the awareness and/or attention to detail to even attempt to make it look convincing.
And even when brands aren’t faking skin tones, they’re doing other ridiculous things. YSL swatched porcelain concealers on ebony skin tones. What does that do? Nothing! In the same photo, they demonstrated that the deepest shade in their range is woefully inadequate for the model shown. What the hell is that supposed to do, even?
The Bottom Line
I simply fail to see any kind of valid reasoning to not be more inclusive from the onset. That this is still a problem the industry has and, as a result, its consumers face, says a lot about some troubling societal norms that desperately need to be reined in. I hope more brands strive to follow Fenty and Pat McGrath’s example going forward.
Brands: What do you have to say for yourselves?