By now, you’ve probably seen all the giant billboards from different fashion brands that all pretty much look alike (at least to me) to inform you that lawn season is back. And with lawn comes lawn campaigns from different brands, trying to sell you on the idea that their version of lawn is better than someone else’s.
One of these brands trying to stand out to sell you lawn is Sana Safinaz.
And boy oh boy did they stand out like the black stripes on a zebra (pls someone get what I tried to do here). My teammate Kashaf recently did a whole piece about the giant fuck up, which you can read here. But just to give you an idea, here’s a little taste.
Lawn 2018! Chalky pastels, crafty details and definitely a cut above. SS Lawn 2018 takes a dramatic turn this summer and we are game! Code: 5A Price: Rs.6,850 Code: 5B Price: Rs.6,850 Launching on 10th March in all Sana Safinaz stores nationwide and online at www.sanasafinaz.com #GoingStrongwithSSLawn #SanaSafinaz #SSLawn2018 #TheInfluencers #SSModernMuses #SSTrailBlazers #SSKenyaDiaries #Theinitiatiars #SSLawnCouture #SSAlwaysonPoint #Alwaysastepahead #SSLawnreinvented #Originalasthetic #THEGamechangers #SSEscapades
Don’t see anything wrong yet?
Okay, how about now?
Shortly after these images went online, the internet caught on to the racist pictures which resulted in a PR nightmare; but, at the same time, you could also argue that the conversation around the brand has (sadly) allowed them to stand out from all other lawn brands.
Initially, there was no response from the brand around the criticism that had started generating against them. If anything, their initial response was to start deleting pictures from their Instagram account but unfortunately for them, the internet works in mysterious ways and you can still find the deleted pictures floating the realms of the internet. I went to check out what was still available on their Instagram account this morning, and it looks like they’ve removed all the pictures with Africans in them (except the poor Ostriches, who will speak up for them???).
Late last night, Sana Safinaz released an official statement in response to the public outcry.
(btw, the spelling of intention is incorrect but I digress)
You know what I don’t get? When someone wants to apologize for something where they clearly fucked up, but they have to first preface it with why they did it. Isn’t that essentially negating the entire idea of the apology? “Hey, this is why I was being racist and it’s not as bad as you think but just to make sure you’re not offended, I’m sorry.” Moreover, Maasai tribe is one tribe in the entire continent of Africa – if it can’t represent the entirety of Kenya, how can it represent the entire continent of Africa?
It’s kind of ironic that there’s mention of ethical tourism and then an article from the Guardian about the Maasai tribe in 2011 but there’s also this article the Guardian from 2013 that talks about an interesting topic…
Rather than looking at generally what people were saying, I wanted to go see what customers of Sana Safinaz were saying. This is important because normally we tend to listen to opinions of people in our own social circles or people we follow. Moreover, the nature of opinions also vary on the type of platform you’re on. We’ve seen people on Instagram respond differently than people on Twitter and/or Facebook.
Here are a few responses from Instagram
(I admit these are only a few responses and I urge you to go explore for yourself to form your own opinion).
The responses were mixed, ranging from some people criticizing the brand
To some people standing up for the brand
I saw similar responses on Facebook as well
However, of 47 comments (still) on their Facebook page that I went through, there were more favorable comments
But the criticism was still there
Maybe it’s time for the discussion around cultural appropriation to take place in Pakistan on a broader scale. We’re ready to start discussing it when another country appropriates our culture, such as Zara trying to sell Dhotis for 10,000 rupees. But what about when we do it to other cultures? Are we exempt from criticism? Or do you think this isn’t cultural appropriation? Let me know in the comments section, I’d really like to hear what your thoughts are.
Sana Safinaz Might Have Seriously Messed Up With Their Offensive New Lawn Campaign And People Are Not Happy