Update 5:15pm ET Both MAC and Rodarte have issued statements of apology for their cosmetics’ unfortunate choice of names. MAC has promised to donate part of the proceeds from the sale of the makeup to people in Juarez. Rodarte reps insisted that the makeup line was inspired by the “etheral nature” of the Southwest, and that the designers are “truly saddened about injustice in Juarez.” See their full statements below. Thanks for the heads up, Kate.
The high-fashion label Rodarte will be sending out a new line of cosmetics in a collaboration with MAC this September that’s inspired by the border city of Juarez, Mexico. Their new cosmetics collection will feature blush, lip gloss, eyeshadows and nail polish in shades of “factory,” “Juarez,” “Ghost town,” “del Norte,” and “quinceanera.”
It seems the designers took a recent trip to the border, checking out towns from El Paso to Marfa, Texas. They came back with a fascination with Juarez in particular, and with life in the post-NAFTA maquilas that were set up to help the city become a free-trade zone. When designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy unveiled their ready-to-wear F/W 2010 in February, they said that they had been inspired by the lines of women workers who’d make their way to factory jobs in the middle of the night. Romantic, huh?
Of course, real life in Juarez, which has the distinction of being the world’s deadliest city, is much less so. By the end of July, Juarez is set to log 6,000 murders this year alone. The city is home to hundreds of factories owned by multinational corporations, and has become a bloody warzone where Mexico’s drug wars are being fought. For the last few years the violence has resulted in so many thousands of unsolved deaths, many of those killed have been women workers who were traveling to and from their jobs in Juarez’s factories.
That grim reality, alongside images of these pasty white women and blood-streaked palettes of blush, is stomach-churning. And the handmade, couture clothes their trip inspired are appropriately ghostly, but totally disconnected from reality in both aesthetic and ethos.
The women behind Rodarte are Southern California sisters whose studio is in downtown Los Angeles, just blocks from one of the biggest remaining clothing manufacturing blocs in the country. The Mulleavys are widely considered to be industry darlings—young, independent minded women designers who made their name with a 2005 debut on diaphanous dresses that were intricately designed but never over thought.
Too bad these artists, in their attempts to be worldly, if not politically relevant, showed just how little they know about the world they’ve romanticized.
M·A·C Cosmetics Statement:
We understand that product names in the M·A·C Rodarte collection have offended some of our consumers and fans. This was never our intent and we are very sorry. We are listening carefully to the comments posted and are grateful to those of you who have brought your concerns to the forefront of our attention. M·A·C will give a portion of the proceeds from the M·A·C Rodarte collection to help those in need in Juarez. We are diligently investigating the best way to do this. Please be assured that we will keep you posted on the details regarding our efforts.
Rodarte Company Statement:
Our makeup collaboration with M·A·C developed from inspirations on a road trip that we took in Texas last year, from El Paso to Marfa. The ethereal nature of this landscape influenced the creative development and desert palette of the collection. We are truly saddened about injustice in Juarez and it is a very important issue to us. The M·A·C collaboration was intended as a celebration of the beauty of the landscape and people in the areas that we traveled.