H&M & Sephora: Doing Diversity Right!
Recently, multicultural marketing has come in to play and open up their product range to women of color, bravo! In this day and age, opening up your product range in something as hands on as the beauty industry is crucial. For the longest time, beauty companies have catered mostly to caucasian women and the western world, in some cases almost to the point of completely ignoring that beauty comes in all colors, body types, and cultures. H&M recently launched its 'Close the Loop' denim line to round off its campaign for sustainable fashion. The accompanying TV advert released in both video and print features a Muslim female model wearing a hijab alongside tens of other models of various nationalities, with inspiring outfits of their own. The Swedish multinational released the TV ad in early October, which was the modelin debut of London-based model Mariah Idrissi, aged 23. After a friend submitted her photo to H&M, she was selected and given a range of outfits to choose from for the ad, and the outcome was very much to her liking. While the campaign itself aimed to obliterate some of fashion's most entrenched taboos, tying this new-found lack of rules in fashion with the need to recycle our unwanted clothes, it inadvertently raised the issue of multiculturalism in the marketing world. Some traditionalists have pointed out to her that modeling would conflict with Islamic beliefs, Idrissi argues that her actions have not gone against these teachings. To the contrary, she believes promoting the traditional headscarf is positive, particularly as she was dressed modestly. In fact, Idrissi states that women have written to thank her for restoring their self-confidence. Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, House of Fraser and Mango have also launched some lines in recent times specifically aimed at observant Muslim ladies. While the trend to include observant Muslim women in fashion campaigns is welcome, Muslim lawyer Mariam Veiszadeh states she looks forward to the day when wearing hijabs on TV won't make headlines. Though it's unclear just how much of a difference the fact that businesses are starting to take lessons in halal will make, debates such as these have revealed the vastness of the Muslim consumer market, the great spending power, and the immense potential that companies can derive from being more minority-friendly. Sephora is also one of the beauty companies that have been playing their cards right in terms of multicultural marketing. Recently they have released a new kind of subscription known as the BeautyBox. The BeautyBox subscriptions are available in three plans for you to select the best that suits all your needs and specifications. Brands like Black Opal, Iman, and Black Radiance were founded and operate with a basic principle of satisfying women with darker skin tones. In their marketing campaigns, they do not focus on the race but rather solely on the skin tone and color of their target audience. Thus, a majority of the beauty boxes ensure that they incorporate one of these and similar other brands in their array of beauty products collection. To enhance their beauty, women register for subscription beauty boxes delivered to their doorsteps. In addition to this, Sephora have also done a fantastic job at hiring make up consultants with various backgrounds in order to help customers feel more at ease when skimming and testing products, as they can more so trust the recommendations of employees with similar skin colors, types, or even hair tones. Thus, customers gain confidence in the beauty product brands and the company itself. The shift towards marketing practices that promote diversity is not something new to the fashion industry. Uniqlo announced a fashion line geared toward Muslim ladies as early as July. Still, Shelina Janmohamed, VP for Ogilvy Noor, argues that there is no need to target and single out a Muslim audience, but that the fashion industry should instead include them in their marketing strategies seamlessly, as they would any other consumer.