Public outcry on social networking website, Twitter, has created such a storm (even bordering a PR disaster) that it has forced high-street retailer, Topman, to remove two offensive t-shirts from both shops and online.
While slogan t-shirts are usually of bad taste, read cliché messages and/or are tacky, you have to wonder, surely these misogynistic messages must have raised a few eyebrows in the buying or public relations department? One of the t-shirts in question reads “Nice New Girlfriend: What Breed Is She?”, while the other lists a series of excuses for an apparent act of domestic violence, including “You provoked me”, “I was drunk” and, “I hate you”.
User generated, ilikemystyle connects those who, as they put it, “share a passion for fashion and style; for the beautiful and the ugly; the chic and the ridiculous”. The individual uploads images of themselves in various outfits which can then be tagged with information about the product, such as where it was bought, the designer, the fabric type and the time of purchase etc. Each image is then logged and archived into the network allowing others to look, like and comment on it. It’s Facebook for the fashion lover.
The retailer said it already has more than 660,000 fans on Facebook.
Chief executive Angela Ahrendts told the Financial Times: “These might not even be customers yet. Or they may be a customer for a bottle of fragrance or for eyewear. But these are the customers who need the brand experience, who need to feel the brand. That word-of-mouth spreads through their social networks and continues to be a positive conversation [about Burberry]… that is so powerful.”
However, the site has already been criticised due to the negative connotations Burberry has in the UK and has received the nickname of “Chavbook”. Popular consumer website Bitterwallet made their thought’s perfectly clear by tagging the article as “Shit Idea”.
However, I think the negativity over this website because of its association as ‘chav clobber providists’ is unjustified. When Christopher Bailey visited my University he said he wasn’t too worried about this association as the majority of their sales are from abroad and the idea of “Chav” culture is only recognised in the UK.
Despite this, I still think the website’s a bad idea.