Lena Dunham is taking credit for the idea behind the controversial LPA sweatshirt that appeared to be fat-shaming and garnered outrage from all corners of the internet, including model Tess Holliday. But she claims she did not know Revolve would model the pieces on “thin white women” – and is sharing in the outrage about the optics.
In a statement shared via Instagram alongside a close-up of a Peter Paul Rubens painting depicting feminine curves, Dunham, 32, wrote: “For months I’ve been working on a collaboration with 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.”
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She continued, “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.”
As first reported by Fashionista, the sweatshirt was part of a collection of pullovers from LPA, which all feature shaming quotes reportedly said to stars like Dunham (“Horrible Result of Modern Feminism”) and Cara Delevingne (“Too boney to be boned”). The “Being Fat Is Not Beautiful, It’s An Excuse” style was directed at curvy model Paloma Elsesser.
“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,” Dunham said. “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.”
She added: “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.” [Editor’s note: Revolve donated $20,000 to “Girls Write Now” following the backlash.]
After model Tess Holliday called out Revolve and LPA for the sweatshirt, the online fashion retailer gave a statement to PEOPLE about the controversy.
“This morning, images of a forth coming LPA collection were prematurely released on Revolve.com. The capsule collection – originally conceived by LPA alongside Lena Dunham, Emily Ratajkowski, Cara Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse and Paloma Elsesser – was set to debut tomorrow as a direct commentary on the modern day ‘normality’ of cyber-bullying and the shared desire to create a community for those most affected by the epidemic. Proceeds were set to benefit ‘Girls Write Now’, a charity focused on mentoring underserved young women and helping them find their voices and tell their stories through writing,” the statement began.
“The prematurely released images featured on Revolve.com was not only included without context of the overall campaign but regrettably featured one of the pieces on a model whose size was not reflective of the piece’s commentary on body positivity. We at Revolve sincerely apologize to all those involved – particularly Lena, Emily, Cara, Suki and Paloma – our loyal customers, and the community as a whole for this error.”
“The collection has been pulled. We are proud to donate $20,000 to “Girls Write Now” in the hopes that those who need it can still benefit from what was to be a meaningful, insightful and impactful collaboration by LPA,” Revolve said.