Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
As word spread of President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on immigrants from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia, many Americans sprung into action. On Saturday, the day after Trump signed the executive order on January 27th, thousands headed to airports to protest on behalf of those who had been detained, while lawyers got busy trying to help the detainees (and sue the US government while they were at it).
Amid all the commotion, a plethora of voices from the corporate world spoke out against the executive order, particularly from tech. CEOs from companies like AirBnb, Google, Lyft, Dropbox, Reddit, and Netflix voiced their concerns strongly, while leadership at Apple, Intel, Microsoft, and Twitter all issued responses, albeit less firm.
Meanwhile, one group of voices that was barely heard from were those in the US fashion, beauty, and retail spheres (although some companies, like Target and Walmart, offered statements to their own employees internally). For industries with supply chains that cross countless borders and rely on immigrant workers, the public response was small and notably feeble.
Here’s a list of the retail and beauty companies that have spoken out, from the strongest statements to the weakest, that we’ll continue to update as more speak out.
Warby Parker, Etsy, and Levi Strauss & Co.
These three fashion-oriented companies joined 93 others to file an amicus brief on Sunday, February 5th, in objection to President Trump’s immigration ban and in support of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals’ rejection of the Justice Department’s appeal. The document states clearly that Trump’s executive order not only runs counter to American values, but also “inflicts significant harm on American business, innovation, and growth as a result.”
After calling Trump “a real asset for this country,” Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank responded to the backlash over praising President Trump (which included comments from Under Armour athlete Misty Copeland) by releasing the following statement to WWD on Friday, February 10th, including mention of the “travel ban”:
“Under Armour and Kevin Plank are for job creation and American manufacturing capability. We believe building should be focused on much-needed education, transportation, technology and urban infrastructure investment. We are against a travel ban and believe that immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for global companies based in America like Under Armour.”
And on February 15th, apparently still dealing with backlash over his pro-Trump comments, Plank also took out a full-page ad in the Baltimore Sun, in the form of an “open letter to Baltimore,” reiterating Under Armour’s commitment to diversity and “equal rights.”
“We believe that immigration is a source of strength,” Plank wrote, and repeated that “we are publicly opposing the travel ban.”
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, wrote an email to his employees the Monday after the ban was put into effect, stating that Amazon is offering “full support” to those impacted. "We are a nation of immigrants whose diverse backgrounds, ideas and points of view have helped us build and invent as a nation for over 240 years,” he wrote, according to Fortune.
REI CEO Jerry Stritzke sent a statement out to REI Co-op employees on January 31st, which was published online. He took a firm stance on the immigration ban, saying that REI does not “support the executive order issued by the President on Friday regarding immigration:”
“Over the course of the first week alone, we’ve witnessed actions that conflict with our co-op values on issues including climate, the environment, women’s rights and the singling out of individuals based on nationality and belief. These issues are core to the health of the outdoors and the ideals of our nation. We know our employee base and our membership span the political spectrum on any given issue. And we embrace respectful dialogue and debate. But it’s important for me to be incredibly clear about the following—we are an organization, and a country, built on inclusion. We believe we are better when we come together, when we are open and when we are welcoming,” he wrote. “I have reached out personally to all employees currently in the immigration process to ensure they have the support they need.”
On January 29th, the Sunday after the Friday night executive order, Nike CEO Mark Parker sent a letter out to his employees, which was published on Twitter. In it, he explicitly said “This is a policy we don’t support:”
"Nike believes in a world where everyone celebrates the power of diversity. Regardless of whether or how you worship, where you come from or who you love, everyone's individual experience is what makes us stronger as a whole," Parker wrote. “Those values are being threatened by the recent executive order in the U.S. banning refugees, as well as visitors, from seven Muslim-majority countries. This is a policy we don’t support. And I know we’re all asking what this means for our future, for our friends, our families and our broader community. I am proud that Nike stands against discrimination in any form. We stand against bigotry. We stand for racial justice. We firmly believe the world can improve.”
Makeup brand Illamasqua came out against President Trump in a blog post proclaiming its “anti-fascism” pledge. Posted on February 16th, the blog post is signed by founder and chaiman Julian Kynaston, and while it doesn’t mention immigration specifically, it states: “llamasqua 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.”
The post adds that it will never “knowingly sell our products to people who support President Trump’s values.”
On January 31st, François Henri Pinault, the French CEO of the parent company behind luxury brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, and Stella McCartney, took to Kering’s official Twitter account to write: “'At a time when diversity is at stake, I want to reaffirm how crucial this value is to me and to Kering,” and “Diversity of origin, opinion and belief is part of our identity and our success.”
An Indian-American designer who’s dressed a handful of A-listers, including Michelle Obama, and also happens to be an immigrant, Naeem Khan took to his company’s Instagram to speak up against the ban.
“I am the immigrant that brings beauty to make you shine. I am the immigrant that is woven into the fabric of America. I am the immigrant that loves this country as all your ancestors who were immigrants,” he wrote alongside a photo of himself. “America look deep and stand for who is patriotic, our values and not for a pompous self promoting racist snake oil salesman. Think and act.”
Procter & Gamble
While CEO David S. Taylor was silent, a spokesman for the personal care conglomerate, which owns brands like Olay and Herbal Essences, put out a statement of support for P&G employees and added: "For the broader P&G community, we reiterate our unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion and creating an environment where all people are welcome, all people are valued and all people are respected.”
Like P&G, Nordstrom’s opposition to the ban was stated internally for employees. The weekend the executive order was signed, Peter, Erik, and Blake Nordstrom sent around a letter on Tuesday, January 31st, to company employees, which included the following:
When John W. Nordstrom came to the U.S. as an immigrant, he was given opportunities that allowed him to find a more prosperous and happy life. In so many ways, our humble beginning and the work ethic and gratitude that goes with it helped shape the culture of our company to this day. Over 116 years we have been fortunate to be able to build on the foundation JWN laid for us, thanks to all of you who have chosen to bring your unique experiences and backgrounds to work here at Nordstrom every day. We currently employ more than 76,000 people who comprise different races, ethnicities and genders. We literally have thousands of employees who are first and second generation immigrants. Every one of your unique qualities brings a richness that allows us to better reflect and serve the multi-cultured communities we’re a part of and ultimately makes us a better company. We are a better place with you here, no doubt about it.
It’s important that we reiterate our values to all of you and make it clear that we support each of our employees. We will continue to value diversity, inclusion, respect, and kindness… you can count on that.
The outdoorsy brand was boycotted last month by anti-Trump shoppers after it emerged that Linda Bean, a company family member who serves on the board of directors, had donated to a Trump super PAC. Subsequently, then-President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to voice his support for L.L.Bean.
While L.L.Bean tried to maintain a politically neutral stance, Politico reports that L.L.Bean CEO Stephen Smith did release an internal memo on February 2nd after Trump’s immigration executive order, offering employees his support and reiterating that the company supports “diversity to create a stronger organization and a better world” and believes in “an inclusive, welcoming work environment.”
The memo also shouted out the boycott kerfuffle from last month, obliquely referencing it as “an unfortunate and unwanted political situation.”
On the company’s official Instagram account, Tory Burch posted a video of a bag that reads “we belong to one another” on one side and “love is universal” on the other. Alongside the video, the caption read: “Respect, civility, acceptance and inclusion are at the core of who we are and should be a given. Embracing all people of all nationalities is beautiful. #loveisuniversal."
Diane von Furstenberg
In an email to the Business of Fashion published on January 30th, the founder of her namesake line wrote that she is “personally horrified to see what is going on.”
“The fashion industry has always been a reflection of what America is all about... inclusion and diversity,” she wrote. “It will continue to stand by these standards.”
While silent on his brand’s official accounts, Public School cofounder Dao-Yi Chow attended a protest against the ban in New York City and posted a video to Instagram with the following caption: “My Muslim brothers and sisters NYC is out here and will continue to be out here in support. New York is an immigrant town.”
This post was originally published on February 3rd, 2017 and has been updated throughout.