In glorious news for anyone that doesn’t work as a “social media coordinator” at a digital agency in Paddington, Australian label Zimmermann has been called out for its racially insensitive grooming and presentation guidelines for employees.
Fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada has leaked the companies internal “grooming guide”. Unsurprisingly, the guide for the boho-shite label is unbearably white. The leaked brand guidelines include a summary outlining specific hair, makeup and aesthetic requirements.
The book is completely absent of Black models — and is comprised of images of famous, predominately eurocentric models from photoshoots and fashion shows. Models of the Hadid sisters, Candice Swanepoel and Romee Strijd ilk. The guidebook was allegedly updated to include images of two Asian models after employees raised their concern over the lack of diversity.
The Aryan mood board included a dense lookbook outlining hair and Ania Milczarczyk-core makeup requirements. Makeup recommendations highlighted high-end products from brands like Nars, Giorgio Armani, Eve Lom and Josie Maran.
It is emphasised that “makeup must be worn to work” and employees are “not come to work without makeup on”. Whilst this isn’t inherently despicable, it’s pretty clear that this beauty regime was put together with white people in mind. A case of brain worms that truly shines with the companies recommendation that employees with “darker/olive skin” use Benefit’s Hoola bronzing powder.
It gets problematic when the brand outlines its strict hair-styling rules. The guidelines dictate that hair can be worn in “soft, textured loose waves, or blowdried straight” and emphasises that “there are to be no high buns, top knots, plaits, braids or ponytails worn high on top of the head”.
These draconian rules entirely disregard employees with curly hair, and corollary ostracises black women. Within these rules, it is practically impossible for many Black employees to wear their hair naturally at work.
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A former intern for the company, Desiree Celestin, has made allegations of racism entrenched within the company’s employees at the US branches. Miss Celestin claims that a senior employee once mocked a black model’s hair, comparing it to dust on the ground.
Another intern, Maci Marie Bourgeois claims that her hair was compared to a “furry scarf” during her time within the company. Whilst other women of colour that have interned for Zimmermann have alleged that they were not allowed to attend runway shows as they “didn’t understand the brand.”
Since former employees and interns have come forward, alleging the company of racism, Zimmermann has released a statement (sort of) addressing the indiscretions detailed, and promising to “build on our diversity.”
Fuck Zimmermann, society has progressed past the need for Zimmermann.