Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lands End

It's time for a rant.

Let me begin by saying that I LOVE Lands End clothing. The stuff they make, especially for kids, is high quality, lasts forever, and isn't crazy expensive when you consider that they can be worn for years. I love them because they take returns with no hassle. And they make jeans that look good on a 5'2", 110 pound woman who is neither curvy enough nor tall enough for most of the other jeans companies to bother with, unless I want to wear big pleated high-waisted mom "slacks." As if.

But here is my main beef with the good people at Lands End. I just received their Kids Catalog in the mail, and for the third straight catalog in a row, every single child pictured is white. I'm not kidding. I know they are based in Wisconsin, so maybe it's not the melting pot of America? But this is 2007 and I just kind of think that in order to end up with three completely caucasian catalogs, you have to be making an effort in that regard. How do you call for a bunch of kid models in 2007 and only end up with white ones? And not just white ones. I mean Aryans. There's not even a single kid in there who looks like his surname might be Tucci or Melfi, much less Jiang, Lin, Beah or Toure.

So I sent them an email, telling them everything I told you in Paragraph one, and adding that my daughter has noticed that no one has brown skin or non-caucasian hair. She looks at the catalog and says, "she not have my hair, she not have my hair either..." It's not like they should have a quota of non-white children in their catalog. It's just that their catalog should more accurately reflect their customer base, not to mention the country in which they do business.

And that's my primary point, beyond how it makes little kids feel to notice that "there are no brown girls" in a catalog. It simply seems to me to be good business practice: make your customers feel at home while appealing to a broad potential customer base. I love Lands End, but a few more all-white catalogs, and I'm going to consider them a bad investment of my inter-racial family's money.

Feel free to let them know if you agree.
LandsEnd Go to the very bottom of the page and click on Contact Us.


Anonymous said...

That is surprising about a company as large and far-reaching as Lands End. You may have it that their headquarters are in "whitey-white land", so when anyone there thinks kids, they think of the kids they see on a daily basis. One would think this idea would have come up though...

Emily said...

E: I, too, LOVE Lands End! Their jeans are now offering all kinds of wonderful choices - including the chance to "Have It Your Way": jeans made to order to fit one's unique body measurements and which take into account one's own preferences/needs in trouser length and width, placement of pockets, etal. Their 6 ounce flannel sheets are "to die for", and the fact that you can return things at your local Sears store (no having to fool around with the US "Snail Mail" system) is an added bonus!

But to think of the hurt and confusion experienced by the Bambina and other beloved children whose ethnicities differ from that of "white" people, is to bring sadness to my heart, tears to my eyes, and the resolve to contact Lands End and discuss this issue with the powers that be (assuming I am able to speak directly with someone in marketing). Failing that, emailing will have to do.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, E.


Emily said...

Hello E,

An update: I called Lands End immediately after my post on SSH. I left a message with "Lisa" in Marketing, complete with my telephone number, requesting that she please return my call. So far, NO response. So, today, I emailed Lands End. No idea if they will receive it and/or respond, but I did include my email address. Will keep you posted.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't noticed how inclusive (or lack thereof) Lands' End's choice of clothing models were, so I flipped through the kids catalog included with my recent order and plainly see non-white male and female children on pages 51, 55, 68, 72, 88 and more. You may not hear back from marketing given this reality.

I always say "vote with your pocketbook". If there just aren't enough non-white children on their pages for your liking, then buy your sheets, jeans, and children's clothing elsewhere. Support businesses who match your values.

Julia said...

I love Land's End and am going to keep a close eye on their catalogues from now on. Definitely don't like non-inclusive advertising. I think their adult catalogues have a fairer representation? Never seen the kids but am going to watch for this issue.