British cosmetics corporation Illamasqua is taking a stand against America's new President, Donald Trump. Last month, the company's website published a statement urging customers to sign an 'anti-fascism' pledge before buying their products, and went as far as rejecting customers who support Trump.
The statement opens; "Illamasqua believe in the freedom of expression, equality and diversity. That’s why we are horrified by President Trump’s actions to date. We refuse to remain silent while extreme right-wing populism gains momentum… wherever it is happening."
Comments below the pledge were predictably, positive, but the bold political move amassed mixed reviews elsewhere on the Internet. Twitter users accused the brand of discriminating, with the hashtag #BoycottIllamasqua emerging.
I decided to reach out to Illamasqua founder and writer of the anti-fascism pledge, Julian Kynaston, to find out more.
Tia: Hi Julian! What prompted you to publish your anti-fascism pledge?
Julian: "The vast majority of our staff and our customers (they call themselves the Illamafia) are from minority groups and subcultures . We have a large following from the Muslim community too. We are champions of our customers and share their beliefs. Illamasqua is a mindset - it's not just about selling make up."
T: Illamasqua is the first cosmetics corporation to publicly stand up against Trump. Do you think other companies will start doing the same?
J: "Yes, we have already seen the likes of Dove and LUSH follow suit, all be it in very different ways. As brands, we need to take responsibility and use our platform to highlight key issues and encourage change."
T: What do you think of the hashtag #BoycottIllamasqua on Twitter?
J: "We knew some people would not like our statement and we accepted that. The hashtag came from fanatic Trump supporters and really didn’t pick up that much momentum."
T: Some people have claimed anti-fascism pledge is a publicity stunt and grassroots blog chicksontheright.com said it was 'nothing more than a pathetic attempt to cash in on all this anti-Trump sentiment'. Can you comment on that?
J: "We are genuinely horrified by President Trump’s nationalistic agenda and the way his policies are inherently putting minority groups at risk – something we cannot stay silent about. Illamasqua is a brand that speaks it’s opinions confidently and openly. Yes we’ve gained publicity but this wasn’t the main objective."
T: Comments on the anti-fascism statement on the Illamasqua website have been generally positive. Do you think Illamasqua will gain customers for standing up for it's beliefs?
J: "Yes, standing up for our belief’s is something that is integral to Illamasqua. We saw a positive uplift of both sales and social followers following our pledge which was an added bonus to this campaign."
T: A Twitter user said Illamasqua is being 'discriminatory'. Do you think you'll lose any customers from publishing your anti-fascism pledge?
J: "We knew we’d lose some customers, however supporting a man that openly mocks disabled people live on TV is something that needs to be challenged."
What do you guys think about the anti-fascism pledge? Does it make you want to buy from Illamasqua more?