Target: John D. Goodman, CEO of Wet Seal
Goal: Commend Wet Seal for featuring a model with Down syndrome
The fashion industry is regularly criticized–and often rightfully so–for failing to feature models that are anything other than tall, thin, white, and conventionally pretty. But Wet Seal, a company whose corporate initiatives include a Diversity and Inclusion Council, is walking the walk: it recently added seventeen-year-old Karrie Brown to its list of models. Karrie has Down syndrome. Sign the petition and applaud Wet Seal for taking steps toward a more inclusive vision of the fashion industry.
Karrie came to Wet Seal’s attention after her mother, Sue, began posting pictures of Karrie wearing Wet Seal’s plus-size line to a Facebook page she had set up. Several fans of the page sent the link to Wet Seal, which responded with a challenge: if Karrie’s page reached 10,000 likes, the company would fly her to Los Angeles for a photo shoot. The page quickly surpassed this goal, and Wet Seal, true to its word, paid for Karrie and her mother to travel from their home in Illinois all the way to California, ABC News reported, adding that the company “[threw] in a trip to Disneyland along the way.” Karrie “was a natural in front of the camera,” said Wet Seal’s Yasmin Ezaby, and the photos from Karrie’s shoot are going to be released online over the next few weeks.
The importance of a move like this is immense. When a large company like Wet Seal publicly endorses a model who embodies something outside the norm, it sends a strong message to both the fashion industry and the company’s customers that diversity is something to be embraced, not ignored. Sign the petition and praise Wet Seal’s step forward.
Dear Mr. Goodman,
Many companies talk a big game about diversity but fail to follow through. It is truly heartening to know that Wet Seal is not one of those companies. I commend and congratulate you for adding Karrie Brown, a teen with Down syndrome, to Wet Seal’s models.
Karrie’s inclusion in Wet Seal’s line-up means quite a lot to her, undoubtedly, but it also means a lot to many other people. For young women with Down syndrome or other special needs, it sends a strong message of inclusivity: you may be different, but you are just as worthy of attention as anyone else. For other teens who may not personally know someone with Down syndrome, Karrie’s photos show that differences are something to be celebrated and respected, not stigmatized.
With all the criticism parts of the fashion industry have been receiving recently over insensitivity and exclusivity, it is inspiring to hear good news coming from the industry as well. I applaud Wet Seal’s commitment to showcasing a diverse array of young women in its advertising, and I encourage the company to continue to pursue an increasingly inclusive and well-rounded image.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Karrie Brown – Modeling the Future Facebook page