Anthropologie, the American clothing retailer known for its shabby-chic and bohemian style, has responded to accusations of racial profiling. Both customers and former employees have taken to Twitter to call out the company for using code words based on the race of customers in their stores.
Corporate Support for BLM
A week ago, the retailer posted on instagram in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, saying “we support and stand with the black community.” The post sparked backlash from the social media community, which was quick to decry the company’s hypocrisy and accuse it of virtue signaling.
Both former employees and customers immediately called out Anthropologie for its treatment of black shoppers. Multiple staffers, who had worked at stores in New York, Seattle, and California, claimed that they were instructed to use the codename “Nick” to refer to black shoppers.
Instagram user @Sablecraft wrote, “I literally worked in your flagship store in NYC and was instructed to use this phrase. Not a surprise that you would blatantly lie but still a bummer now that you’d like to be considered woke.”
In addition to these accusations of racial profiling, some customers have claimed that they were not attended to with the same level of respect as other patrons due to their race. Instagrammer @senseandedibility wrote, “I hope that NOW when I walk into one of your stores, I will no longer see a salesperson walk by me and my clothes-laden arms to help the white woman behind me.”
Anthropologie has outright denied these allegations. “We have never and will never have a code word based on a customer’s race or ethnicity,” the company wrote in a lengthy Instagram post. The statement insisted that Anthropologie has a “zero tolerance” policy for racism.
Still, the company says it will strive for increased transparency and that it is “committed to doing better,” though it has yet to acknowledge the numerous accusations by former employees.
In any event, Anthropologie is probably banking on the demise of J.Crew to carry them through this controversy. Where else can you now go for a $300 sundress with fruit printed on it?