Fashion brand Chichi London apologizes after being insulted by a model with a disability

Fashion retailer Chi Chi London issued an apology after calling for token caution after hosting an event that brand ambassadors with disabilities could not access. This incident requires brands to “improve their disability skills” and better serve the disabled community beyond simply showing people with disabilities in their advertisements.

Model and content creator Lucy Dawson shared on social media how Chi Chi London hired her for a campaign called ‘Celebrate You’ to advocate for diversity. But she said Chi Chi had excluded her from revitalizing her brand because she didn’t have access to her place.

“One of the things I always talk about is that I don’t have access to events, and at that moment I felt so tokenized. Just like what I did was great gigs, gigs, likes doing nothing for the disabled community,” she said.

The event is a pop-up store on Oxford Street in London that is partly accessible and has two floors with ramps. Chi Chi said he thought access would be “enough” but realized he wasn’t fit.

“My heart is terribly hurt because you brought me into this campaign on inclusion and I brought it out. [the campaign] I have recommended it as a brand to my followers, mostly disabled and chronically ill,” said Dawson.

Chi Chi London responded by apologizing for angering the disabled community, claiming that it was “a true director and had no intention of offending”.

“We have to do better in the future and we will learn from this. We do not want to exclude our valued customers or ambassadors from the events we host.”

Following Dawson’s social media posts, angry disabled community members commented on Chi Chi’s social page.

Chi Chi’s apology extended to the decision to limit commentary. The agency said, “We sincerely apologize for not being able to respond carefully to the response received from the disabled community.”

Purple Goat, a disability and inclusion marketing agency, is at the forefront of educating brands about the fact that working with people with disabilities in advertising means more than ‘showing people with disabilities’ in advertising.

Purple Goat’s head of strategy, Dom Hyans, told The Drum: , think holistically about all aspects of a reasonable coordination or campaign with respect to workflow, and ensure that everyone, disabled and non-disabled, is included and evaluated equally.”

Hyans hopes Dawson’s story will help Chi Chi and other brands “reflect on what they are doing to ensure inclusiveness and bring people with real-world experience to help make their campaigns as inclusive and successful as possible,” Hyans said. said.

The impact of the pandemic and the shift to virtual and hybrid events have made it easier for brands to host accessible activations. However, returning to in-person events and moving away from the coronavirus should put event accessibility back on the agenda. Sebastian Boppert, head of European communications at Eventbrite, a September event management and ticketing website, told The Drum: . But ending social isolation means an end for all, and we must work together to do so.”


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