[Now with extra whitening.]
The Lands’ End catalogue may never have been a great document of the variousness of Americans, but its recent incarnations appear to have taken a sharp turn for the white. Above, the cover of the Fall Resource Guide 2015, a hefty catalogue with a fold-out cover, an insert printed on thicker paper, two blow-in cards, and 171 pages. And a whole bunch of white people.
I went through this catalogue page by page — three times, for accuracy — checking off every human form. I counted 155. Many, of course, are the same people, appearing again and again. One woman, standing atop a rock, arms outstretched, faces away from the camera, gloved and hatted beyond identification. Of the other 154 men, women, children in this catalogue, thirteen are plainly or possibly not white. That leaves 141 white men, women, and children, making for a catalogue that’s 91.5% white.
It’s a measure of the way our sense of American culture has changed that this catalogue (which fifty years ago might have seemed, at least to a white reader, “normal”) should now look so strangely, aggressively retrograde. Lands’ End, please rethink it.
One thing about these white people: they sure read some interesting books.
[Click for a larger view. Otnajhna Nranfez and Nojatnah Arenzef: friends of the late Vidad Ostref Clewala. Another photograph shows some oversized books with the work of the painter Hen Mati.]
September 24: Here’s an article that helps to account for the change in direction at Lands’ End: How Lands’ End Is Angling for Millennials, and Injecting Luxury into the Midwest (Refinery29). Angling for so-called millennials with a nearly all-white catalogue seems like an especially strange choice.
A related post
Colgate Optic White
[If you look for this catalogue online, you won’t find it, at least not yet. The cover is there, on Lands’ End’s catalogue page, but the link goes to the Fall Preview catalogue, not the Fall Resource Guide.]
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
By Michael Leddy at 10:14 AM