Popular t-shirt company, Zazzle, had to issue an apology earlier today thanks to this utterly confusing shirt:
The shirts came to light after beauty vlogger Jackie Aina shared the following tweet:
well in that case pic.twitter.com/2xI849O0we
— La Bronze James (@jackieaina) July 25, 2017
While most people bewildered by the t-shirt understand that Zazzle doesn’t design their own shirts and simply has “stock models” to advertise designs, the snafu brings up a problematic issue in the beauty and fashion industry: white or ethnically ambiguous, skinny models are typically considered the “default”.
Twitter User @JannaElizabeth4 summarizes the issue in one short tweet:
follow up question. what makes black girls so abnormal as to not be default.
— (ง •̀_•́)ง (@JannaElizabeth4) July 26, 2017
Creators on Zazzle have very little control over which model is depicted wearing their design, which leads to brow raising catalog shots like this:
After combing the Zazzle catalog for black models, this is the only model that came up on the list:
Out of all the stock photos, the entire site has only one black model to depict shirt designs.
In response to the blacklash, here’s what Zazzle had to say:
“Each designer is shown a series of pre-posed randomized model shots upon which their design is placed. It’s always possible that gender, race, and other attributes of the model do not match up to the specifics of the design, given the ratio of our millions of designs to the 100 or so T-shirt styles we offer. At Zazzle, we’re committed to diversity and are working on increasing the diversity of the pre-posed model shots and the T-shirt range itself,”
If you’re looking for fun t-shirts from a brand that uses black models and actually celebrates diversity and not just talk about it, check out Tees in the Trap, a black-owned t-shirt company.