Lena Dunham Criticizes Revolve for Placing Her Cyberbullying Sweatshirts on 'Thin White Women'

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Insta-famous retailer Revolve is in hot water this week.  

The e-commerce company issued an apology on Thursday after a sweatshirt that read "Being fat is not beautiful it's an excuse" modeled by a sample-sized white model surfaced on its site, which caused an uproar on the internet. 

It was soon revealed the sweatshirt was part of a collaboration between Revolve's in-house brand, LPA, and actress Lena Dunham. Revolve explained in the apology, posted on its Instagram page, that it has been taken down.

After canceling the line, the L.A.-based brand went on to inform the LPA x Lena collection's intention was to shed light on the effects of digital trolls and bullying by placing hate messages that Dunham as well as actresses and models Emily Ratajkowski, Suki Waterhouse, Cara Delevingne and Paloma Elsesser (who the quote above was directed at) have received on the clothes.

Under each quote, there is (very) small text that reads "as said to" each affected woman. Proceeds were to benefit nonprofit organization Girls Write Now that empowers young girls through the arts. 

LPA also posted an apology, noting the image was released prematurely and it was "planning to launch with an image of Lena in the sweatshirt along with our statement and explanation." 

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What was conceived as a statement on today’s internet culture and its treatment of women has gone terribly wrong.  We at LPA were so honored when Lena Dunham agreed to work with us on this capsule collection and, most importantly, thrilled at the exposure our work would give to such a serious issue.  We coordinated each aspect of the collection itself, to the chosen quotes to the design.  We were proud of our final product, the conversation it would start and – most importantly – the direct effect it would have on such an impactful charity in “Girls Write Now”. Where we faltered was not intention, sincerity or conception, but in my own lack of communication that lead to how the collection was portrayed on Revolve.com and the pre-mature release of the e-commerce imagery, a day prior to launch. We were planning to launch with an image of Lena in the sweatshirt along with our statement and explanation.  I cannot apologize enough to my good friend Lena, and others, to all of LPA’s fans.  We work hard to make the right choices every day, understanding the platform and the opportunity that we are lucky enough to have, and we are so sorry to have let you all down. We know the quotes within the collaboration were shocking, which was entirely the point. To spotlight how we've normalized the way we bully and speak negatively to one another via the internet. Given this controversy, we support Revolve.com and join them in their removal of the collection from our site.  We are also proud to make our own donation to “Girls Write Now” – in honor to their commitment to this admirable cause.

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Dunham responded with an Instagram post of her own, saying, "Without consulting me or any of the women involved, @revolve presented the sweatshirts on thin white women, never thinking about the fact that difference and individuality is what gets you punished on the Internet, or that lack of diversity in representation is a huge part of the problem (in fact, the problem itself.)" 

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For months I’ve been working on a collaboration with my friend Pia’s company LPA through parent company @revolve - sweatshirts that highlight quotes from prominent women who have experienced internet trolling & abuse. This is a cause very close to my heart and the proceeds were meant to benefit charities that help young women by empowering them to express themselves through writing and art. Without consulting me or any of the women involved, @revolve presented the sweatshirts on thin white women, never thinking about the fact that difference and individuality is what gets you punished on the Internet, or that lack of diversity in representation is a huge part of the problem (in fact, the problem itself.) As a result, I cannot support this collaboration or lend my name to it in any way. This isn’t meant to shame Pia or the great work she’s done with LPA. I am deeply disappointed in @revolve’s handling of a sensitive topic and a collaboration rooted in reclaiming the words of internet trolls to celebrate the beauty in diversity and bodies and experiences that aren’t the industry norm. *** I’d like to especially extend my love and support to @palomija, whose quote was the first to be promoted and mangled. She’s a hero of mine. Like me, she gave her quote in good faith and shared her vulnerability in order to support arts education and to spread her message of empowerment, and she wasn’t consulted in the marketing. Not an ounce of negativity should be sent her way. *** My only goal on this planet is to empower women through art and dialogue. I’m grateful to every woman who shared a quote and so disappointed that our words were not honored. As a result, I will be making a donation to the charity of every woman’s choice who was wronged with me and I hope that @revolve will join me with a contribution of their own. *** P.S. This Rubens painting makes me happy because it’s about women joining in love, but he didn’t recognize diversity at all- he just loved curvy butts. Problematic fave.

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The creator of Girls stated she will not be supporting the collaboration and will be donating to the charities chosen by the famous ladies who partnered on the collection. Revolve also concluded their apology by stating that they will be donating $20,000 to Girls Write Now. 

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