Saturday, March 2, 2024

H&M Implies Black Models Give ‘Negative Image’ then Apologises to the Internet

While most have been focused on H&M’s new collection with Balmain, some have been left seething at the brand’s South African team, following a conversation it had with a customer on Twitter about the lack of black models in its campaign imagery.

Fashion blogger Tlalane Letihaku had tweeted the brand, saying;

“I was at your CT store. Most, if not all your posters in store have no black models. Please work on that to appeal to everyone.”

H&M’s team then began a four tweet-long response, beginning;

“H&M’s marketing has a major impact and it is essential to us to convey a positive image. 1/4”



Before the rest of the response was given, other Twitter users began to reply, possibly jumping the gun having taken the first part of the message to imply that the retailer was suggesting black models do not provide a positive image. One user tweeted;

“So @hmsouthafrica doesn’t use black models because they don’t portray a ‘positive image’?

The rest of H&M’s 4-part message continued, explaining;

“We want our marketing to show our fashion in an inspiring way, to convey a positive feeling. 2/4

We work with a wide range of models and personalities,throughout all our marketing both online, outside and in store 3/4

Our marketing policy, campaign products & work is something we constantly discuss internally and with creative professionals. 4/4”


Unfortunately, this full response fell unsatisfactory to Twitter users, as the implication that black models do not ‘convey a positive image,’ or ‘positive feeling’ was left, prompting followers to continue pressuring the brand for answers.

Users’ subsequent responses have included;

“Shout out to @hmsouthafrica for blatantly stating that black people do not convey a positive feeling to the public… in a BLACK country.”

Finally, the brand have released a public apology, which reads;

“H&M regrets the response to a social media message that was recently aired on Twitter and wishes to clarify the intention of the message.

In no way does H&M state that positivity is linked to an ethnic group.

H&M is proudly a global brand that embraces all people who are inspired by fashion, regardless of ethnic background, gender or culture.

We wish to apologies if our message has caused offence in any way as this is not the intention.”


While some remain dissatisfied by the apology and the initial tweets, Team SPICE hope the brand are able to tread more carefully when using social media to promote its fashion (perhaps taking note from their recent collaborator, Balmain’s frontman, Olivier Rousteing) and are able to do as Ms Letihaku had initially asked – work on the diversity it presents in all its campaigns.

But what are your thoughts on the event? Tell us what you think to H&M Twitter exchange over its lack of black models and the apology they issued, by sharing your comments in the box below or online @SPICETVAFRICA.

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