There’s only so much a brand can ask of its customers, I think. Illamasqua issued a release saying they’d never knowingly sell their products to Trump supporters. I can’t decide if this is a cynical ‘look at us’ ploy or if they really think it’s appropriate to use their influence to such extreme in politics. They’re also asking their customers to sign an anti-discrimination pledge which is ironic since they’re blatantly discriminating against people based on their political leanings.
Illamasqua believe in the freedom of expression, equality and diversity. That’s why we are horrified by President Trump’s actions to date. We refuse to remain silent while extreme right-wing populism gains momentum… wherever it is happening.
I got quite annoyed at beauty social media influencers during the elections: guilting their audience into voting Labour, mainly. Educate, by all means, give good reasons why you vote the way you do, but it wasn’t, in my view, the right way to use your beauty influence to what is largely a young audience. There was definitely a tone of ‘vote the same way we do otherwise you can’t sit with us’ going on. It didn’t feel appropriate, in the same way that these Illamasqua political punches don’t feel appropriate in their delivery or environment.
To be part of our community, and to buy our products, you must first pledge to Human Fundamentalism values:
- Never discriminate against race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion
- Accept responsibility on challenging social and climate issues
- Speak for those who cannot speak up for themselves
- Uphold the principles of the S.O.P.H.I.E. charity to stamp out prejudice, intolerance and hatred.
These are all awesome life rules to live by to be honest, but asking people to prove they’re worthy by signing a pledge before they buy? Many people I know already are all of the above – in fact, most of the people I know. But I think most wouldn’t want to sign a pledge of their betterness to prove it.
I know exactly where I sit re Trump. Exactly. And, I know exactly where I’m at on extreme right wing views and actions. But, if using power to control is something you may accuse him of, Illamasqua have played a perfect Trump card. Education and persuasion, in my view, are better ways to reach and teach your audience, especially if you preach tolerance at every turn, not ‘do as we say or you can’t be in our gang,’ which is actually highly intolerant.
By all means throw your punches – in fact, it’s good to see brands having a view point and try to make changes. If you check the Illamasqua blog, they’re genuinely speaking for people with no voice and highlighting inequality across gender and race, which is in keeping with a brand that has never shied away from embracing diversity. But I’d like to have seen more context without the aggressive statements. I understand the sentiment but not the delivery.
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Perhaps it’s a case of any publicity is good publicity … ?!
When I saw this ‘pledge’ it properly riled me to the point that I wrote a post and it sits in my drafts. I think it is totally out of order and am, like you, unsure whether it is a cynical ‘look at us’ ploy to try and appeal to the masses and bandwagon hop onto the hot topic of the moment or not!
I don’t think it’s helpful to encourage ‘them and us’ mentality. Unhelpful and ironic, even. H x
I was so outraged by this I wanted to write a response somewhere but I can’t be bothered with the trolling that would come with Facebook or Instagram because Trump and what he does or is perceived to stand for is such a hot topic.
My view is you kill with kindness and you don’t fight fire with fire. I understand the sentiment of outrage over Trumps appointment, lots of people especially the minority groups illamasqua likes to represent are scared and feel unsure about the future right now, but I think they needed to promote inclusivity instead. I’m a UK citizen and detest all that’s about Trump but like the Brexit Drama, you have to look at and respect why normal citizens voted the way they did, so shoot the shepherd not the sheep! Fancy having a moment of moral reflection at the point of sale buying cosmetics! Fair enough have your code on display and promote it as much as you like but we are purchasing cosmetics not signing up to be freedom fighters. To me it’s the final nail in the coffin for illamasqua, which is such a shame as I was a very early supporter and loved what they stood for. Sadly I think a lot of their creativity was lost once they had a presence in Selfridges and with the rise in Instagram makeup all the counter looks just seemed to be the same extreme glam makeup. Add to that the major price increases and the loss of Alex Box to the company’s creativity and I’ve found that Ive gone from it being my go to brand to just buying a nail polish in sale and that was over a year ago :/ This soap box drama leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth and ultimately it saddens me as I don’t want to associate with that kind of ultra righteousness. It’s like a double negative, which I should be all about because I’m Scots (are you not wanting to support illamasqua) :p but it’s just confusing isn’t it.
When has killing with kindness ever worked? Feminists, civil rights activists and other people in history books never achieved the rights we relish in today by being nice to their oppressors. Trump isn’t like your average politician, he is a demagogue hellbent on robbing minorities like myself of their human rights, therefore being kind or educating will never work with such people. We must protest, write letters, boycott or whatever else we can do to show a message that we will not stand for intolerance. We must not tolerate intolerance, and I think Illamasqua is an example of this, whether or not the intention behind this move is for marketing and publicity. I don’t want to make an assumption, however I’m forced to because your attitude towards this seems to be steeped in privilege – you are in a position of privilege, likely to not be directly affected by Trump, to be able to say such things. I recommend you truly place yourself in someone’s shoes, preferably a gay/Latinx/black/Muslim, to know what it’s like to have Trump as President then I’m sure you may see things a little differently.
Well you’ve made an awful lot of assumptions – I have in fact protested, I do have first hand knowledge of certainly gay issues and you have no idea about my heritage. The point is not that we shouldn’t rail against something we feel is wrong, it’s where and when it’s appropriate to do so. A lot of Illamasqua’s behaviour here mirrors Trump’s in my view. But I respect your right to your opinion and thank you for making it here.
From a marketers perspective – what on earth has makeup got to do with which President is in office? Their agency should be fired. It’s one thing to support a cause related to your brand but there is just no connection here for me at all.
I really struggled to form an opinion on this when it landed in my inbox. On one hand I thought ‘good for them standing up for something’ but on the other ‘this is such a publicity stunt and it doesn’t seem genuine at all’. Although I’m adamantly anti-Trump and everything he’s about, you’re right that they’re discriminating against people and therefore contradicting what they’re trying to achieve. I personally believe the majority of supporters/people that think the same way as he are either uneducated, ill informed or a product of poverty/circumstance – and they need to be educated, not told they can’t buy makeup.
When it comes to the likes of Trump, Bannon and other far-right figures and groups, ‘education and persuasion’ *do not* work. These people are already strong in their conviction that gay, Muslim, Jewish, black (and I don’t list these minorities as single entities because one can be all of these things) do not share the same humanity as white people, or white men rather. Playing nice and showing love isn’t the answer here, we can’t fight extreme intolerance and hatred with love because their views and policies have real life consequences for myself, friends and family. There has been no better time than now in which we should make a clear distinction between them and us, because if we’re silent or soft/kind/tolerant/gentle in our opposition to Trump, we might regret it when something worse than a Muslim ban happens.
Very impressed you wrote this! It was absolutely staggering to read an anti fascism pledge that was so utterly – indeed comically – fascist! If you told me it was a spoof I’d have believed it. Yet surprisingly mainstream media seemed to agree it was “brave”. No, not brave. Sickening. They even implied they would – gestapo style- rifle through social media posts to decipher if you really are truly anti-Trump. I was going to write about this myself but didn’t want to give them any extra publicity. Wouldn’t it have been more honourable of they’d allowed anyone regardless of their politics, to buy (as they are legally entitled to do in any case) and set up a % for an immigrant charity alongside the Sophie charity drive. That is true power, to use a Trump supporter’s purchase to fund help for what they have arguably caused. They could then have been forgiven for such a grandstanding and boastful post.
I’m sorry I own the illamasqua stuff that I do. I’ve spent quite a few hundreds £ when I tot it up. I like their pigments though the packaging is a nightmare. Everything I own can be duped anyway. They’ve given me a bad feeling before with all their fake arrogance. They always said they stood up for anti mainstream and were initially set up for stealing MAC’s crown. They failed. Their campaigns used to be very different (albeit ugly) but now without the pretence of Alex Box at the helm (she never seemed fully committed and was always using MAC haha) well now they’re very Dubai centric and proponents of the Instagram heavy makeup which I wouldn’t want to be associated with anyway. Good riddance. I won’t be lectured to when I’m buying a lipstick! Please! Whatever I think of Brexit or Trump, both were decided democratically and as the saying goes: I disagree with what you say, but I’ll fight for your right to say it.
Illamasqua come across far more like a terrorist than as a kind shining example of virtue. i hope their ploy has failed.
Wow so disappointing that you don’t understand why illamasqua are doing this. Btw they’re not literally going to make customers sign pledges lmao you clearly don’t understand what’s going on in the world. At least they’re speaking up for muslims, what are you doing to combat islamophobia?
@Rachel My goodness, how patronizing. I’m a Muslim. I don’t need anybody to stand up for me. I, and we, can stand up for ourselves and we do so daily and with regularity.
What Illamasqua is doing annoys me because it is so obviously a publicity stunt. They are doing the most with the least. This pledge will have no actual impact and they can say “we were part of the struggle!” without actually doing anything of value or use. My life as a Muslim women is already so tiringly politicized in every aspect (hijabi or not? Secular or not? British or not? A “good” Muslim or a “bad” one?). I would like my cosmetics at least to be free of politics. An escape, even.
Make a difference in real life. Show support for marginalised groups, but don’t overwhelm us with useless self serving platitudes. And most of all don’t fall for this self indulgent self-fellating publicity stunt Illamasqua is pulling.
Great comment! Wow “self fellating!” I’ve never heard that before, I might steal it haha!!!
I admire your dignity and agree with everything you say. It is almost insulting to be used as a publicity stunt. Actually interesting point below, that illamasqua – by openly and always being associated with alternative culture, probably don’t really get bought by Trump core supporters at any time, so in many ways they calculated they had nothing to lose! They act like they’re sacrificing customers, but they probably have a good grasp of their demographic and wouldn’t have done this if they knew it would genuinely affect sales. They clearly decided the publicity would generate more than they could ever lose.
Another excellently thought out post Jane. This kind of critical thinking is exactly what sets you apart from other bloggers and keeps me coming back.
I get where their sentiment is coming from but it is done in a rather aggressive manner. Just by taking the stance they are taking will likely stop hardcore Trump supporters from buying from them anyway.
I agree with you on the whole social media Labour vote push too. Encourage young people to vote and to learn about all of the parties, but also encourage them to vote for what they think is right. Voting Conservative is not wrong and voting Labour right, it all depends on what you personally think is important and value. Although I did see Taylor Swift being called out for only posting on social media about voting without showing support for a candidate but I think your vote should be private and personal if you want it to be.
I’m still hoping for a LibDem revival!
Thank you for your opinion regarding the actions of this brand. In my mind there are enough people in the media that are holding Trump to account. However, in my opinion a makeup brand should stick to what it does best, rather than help fuel further division between people. At the end of the day, this brand is interested its balance sheet, regardless of what they say.
I can’t quite decide where I sit on this. I hate the idea of anyone being told what they should believe but equally hate the idea of not trying to quash prejudice & intolerance wherever I see it.
I can’t help but think this must be a PR spin because how could you police it anyway?
Surely you could just clearly tell your prospective customers, loud & proud, what you stand for & what you stand against. A true bigot wouldn’t want to buy into a brand that supports all the things they hate & you’d achieve your objective.
But perhaps we may have to be more militant in the face of people like Trump & the things he stands for?
The whole world feels like a too scary place to contemplate these days. It fills me with despair xCx
It would have been better to remind people what the brand stands for, rather than asking the customers to pledge for something. There are a lot of ways to show support for political and social issues and I admire any brand that is prepared to lose out on potential customers by standing up for their beliefs, but this is badly phrased and will probably backfire big time. Just needs a journalist asking a few uncomfortable questions. Where are your products actually sold? Who are your suppliers?
Illamasqua has alwas been a brand focused on activism. They’re not selling essential goods, nor physically blocking access to their shops to people who don’t sign the pledge (any fascist can lie, sign the pledge and buy from them; it’s not remotely the worst thing they will do in their life). It’s apalling to see people offended by a pledge of non-discrimination, and I will continue buying for them because the pledge fits perfectly with their editorial line.
I’d love to have seen a similar outrage all the times Lagerfeld has insulted overweight women, or when Abercrombie said they only hire good-looking people. But no, apparently those ways of discrimination are perfectly ok with everybody. Make up brands should not talk politics, non-politicians should not talk politics… It seems no one but politicians (aka extremely rich people) are allowed to talk politics nowadays.
I hope you stay true to the principles stated in your blog and refuse to receive Illamasqua samples from now on.
It’s strange that you’ve taken my opinions to mean that I’m not prepared to show readers their products? I do agree with much of what Illamasqua stands for – in this instance my opinion is that their method of messaging is wrong. I’ve supported Illamasqua from the start – have an amicable relationship and if you check my Twitter feed and conversation with Julian, the founder, you will see that we can have debate without falling out. Julian wanted debate from his stance and he has it here and I think he will be pleased that there is discussion. If readers still want to see it they will get what they always get – opinion. If Illamasqua wants to be seen on this blog, then I’m not boycotting lipsticks. I’m just not agreeing in this instance with them. Oh, and Karl – what a liability. If you’re not a long term reader, then you won’t know that I have and will continue to stand for equality and fairness.
No problem Illamasqua- you’re a British Cosmetics Company that has barely any presence in the USA. It’s not a brand that will be missed on the vanities of many consumers.
In my opinion this “pledge” is worthless chatter that serves no purpose except to bring attention to the brands name.
Put your money where your mouth is Illamasqua and support organizations that will truly impact the lives of people all over the world.
I am a fierce defender of free speech- I may not like what you have to say, and your opinions may be in direct contrast to mine- but I am willing to sit at the table and have an adult conversation in an attempt to find common ground.
Any attempt to single out a consumer for their political beliefs is simply wrong and should not be supported. What kind of world would we be living in if this trend were to take root? It’s very dangerous territory they have ventured in to. I’m very disappointed in Illamasqua & thus will cease to make further purchases from them.
You may be surprised by this after my earlier posts, but I do want to stand up for Illamasqua with one point. Illamasqua has and continues to support worthy charities, like the SOPHIE Lancaster Foundation. Despite all the “noise” created by their email/pledge, I am happy to see that they will be donating all of the proceeds from their Nebulus Lip Lure to the foundation. (As I am not purchasing their products, I will continue to privately support the foundation and would urge everyone to support the foundation in whatever way they see fit – it’s an extremely important cause.)
Do you remember when the poorly selling and quite dull Yorkie bar suddenly became “not for girls”?
I’ve not bought one since.
I do… but thankfully never liked them in the first place!
I’m all for brands having a point of view. However this I think was a case of a lot of enthusiasm but poor execution-but maybe that doesn’t matter? Perhaps they were not trying to be clever or correct they just felt passionately that they needed to use their platform, which to me is more or less what we’re seeing across the board whether it be celebs, activists, companies, academics. I think people are just so full of emotion at the moment that a need just to express that is overwhelming the productivity or thoughtfulness of that expression. We all get it wrong from time to time.
I bought my first Illamasqua products based on the “pledge”. They aren’t asking anyone to sign anything, they won’t stop anyone from buying their stuff but they draw a very clear line in the sand for their ideology. So many people are taking the appeasement line that I find it refreshing that a company is prepared to stand up and say “Enough!”.
And I like the mascara.
I agree that the sentiment behind this may be well meant, but the execution is appalling. ‘Speak for those who cannot speak up for themselves’ I find deeply problematic, because it assumes there are people who don’t have a voice or a meaningful perspective.