Monday, October 10, 2016
Scrip fashions banned at Nordstrom
Nordstrom is having an interesting week of PR. They joined the ranks of “liked” brands umpteen thousand times on social media after posting that they will, indeed, not be open on Thanksgiving. The image announcing this has been shared thousands upon thousands of times. But that’s not all Nordstrom has going for it this week.
In a flat refusal, Nordstrom has 86ed Moschino’s new “prescription drug-themed fashion collection.” According to the department store, it will remove the entire line of “capsule” clothing and accessories including the pill bottle purse, a prescription label mini-dress and a track suit made to look like extended release medication.
If you had to read that last paragraph multiple times to understand or grasp the issue, you’re not alone. That anyone would find pill-related clothing fashionable – even ironically – in the first place stretches the imagination, but there’s generally a market for just about everything.
But, more than a market, this line had a great number of critics who all said some version of the following: this line trivializes the daily struggle of tens of millions dealing with prescription drug addiction. This is a clarion call that went up almost immediately after the fashion line debuted at the Milan fashion week.
These critics put together a petition calling for Nordstrom to kill the line, at least in their stores. The petition quickly gathered more than one thousand signatures. That petition did not mince words, stating: “These accessory items you are choosing to market and sell to the public for profit...will most likely promote more drug use… Do you have any idea of the message your company is sending to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to a drug overdose?”
Nordstrom responded by granting the petitioner's request, saying it was doing so based on “negative feedback” from customers.
Moschino responded to the controversy by insisting the collection is not meant to glamorize drug addiction but to “spark conversation” related to the topic. They complained of a “misunderstanding” about the “theme of the collection.”
In reporting on the issue, CNN did not say whether or not any other department stores would follow Nordstrom’s lead, but, at least in the early going, the decision appears to be a PR win for the retailer.
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.