Monday, July 19, 2010

MAC's Border Themed Cosmetics Collection Backfires; when will U.S. companies learn?

Two Los Angeles fashion designers and the big cosmetics firm, MAC thought they had a brilliant collaboration for their 2010 fall look. How about the "Factory" blush? Maybe the "Ghost town" eye shadow or the "Juarez" lip gloss? 

The border themed cosmetic-fashion ideas were the inspirations of sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy.  MAC was apparently so excited about this collaboration that it was already planning its big September release. What the high fashion label and cosmetics giant did not expect was angry feedback from some of their customers.

The Mulleavy's said in released statements that they were inspired by the women who worked the factory jobs in Juarez in the middle of the night.  Oh really?  I guess these two designers are so busy in their little fashion igloo that they haven't read that these Juarez women walk in fear every night. They walk in fear because hundreds of bodies of murdered women have been found in this area.

Didn't MAC management and the Mulleavy sisters realize that still today thousands of murders have yet to be solved?   I'm a reporter.  I covered this story in the late 90's, and interviewed dozens of women in Juarez who wonder if they will be next to be butchered to death.

Why didn't red flags go up at both companies when someone decided to design the eye shadow with white and what looks like streaks of blood? How could they---no one bothered to look deeper than the make up the Juarez women were wearing to work.

So when all hell breaks loose and MAC realizes this is a marketing nightmare and that some customers may go elsewhere; of course they do the obvious---issue an apology.   Oh yes! This will fix everything!

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.

The Mulleavy's PR firm got to work on their apology too. Sure this will make everything better!

Rodarte Company Statement:

Mulleavy sisters
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.

Here's another shocking fact.  My WLL partner, Vicki Adame found out through her research that the Mulleavy's are half Latinas.  Their mother's maiden name is Rodarte, and they apparently named their company after their grandfather.  Oh my, what would he think? 

My suggestion to MAC and Rodarte is get Latinos in decision making positions in both companies. They should be in management and marketing.  There are people out there who are experts in the Latino culture, history and language. 

I can tell you if MAC or these two sisters would have said "Hey what do you think of this? The Juarez, Ghost town, factory looks?"  I like many of you would have said  "Are you kidding? No way in hell can you release this to our customers."

You can always share your thoughts:

Rebecca Aguilar
Founder of Wise Latinas Linked


  1. Hi Rebecca,
    I'm going to repost my Facebook comment that I left on your wall concerning this incident on this blog. I'm merely trying to provide a different point of view and a look at the bigger picture. Yvonne
    Hi Rebecca, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I'm probably going to be the only one here who has a different view on the matter, I do it not to offend my fellow Latinos only in the hopes of providing a different perspective. Here goes..

    Could MAC have used better judgement - Absolutely!

    Should they have consulted with Latino artists to get their take on the creative and product names -Yes!

    However, I don't think it ever was MAC Cosmetics intention to insult our community.

    As a former MAC Pro Artist, I have seen diversity in their marketing and seasonal lines. Many of them are, in fact, inspired by diversity seen around the world and pop culture.

    Also, MAC is the only company that I'm aware of where 100% of their proceeds from Viva Glam goes to HIV/AIDS research - an STI that is rising among Latinos.

    They also have a recycling program and don't test on animals.

    Let's also look at the positive thing that has come out of this - it has brought back to light the horrible killings and disappearance of Juarez women-something that has taken a back seat dare I say almost forgotten. Plus, now a percentage proceeds will go to programs in Juarez.

    Look I'm not agreeing on what MAC did, but they are working to fix it. Did they make a mistake? Yes. Are they working to rectify? Yes. Have they learned their lesson? I hope so. And this - in my humble opinion - is all I can ask for. With that said, I WILL continue to purchase MAC cosmetics for the reasons that I mentioned previously, and speaking as a pro makeup artist, they do have a great makeup line.


    P.S. Kat Von D released an eyeshadow palette last winter called "Day of the Dead".

  2. ‎Yvonne If I was at MAC I would put you at the top of my decision making team, because I know you would have said "Wait a minute folks, we can't do this?" With that said, it's ok to have different opinion, because we come up with those opinions from different experiences and backgrounds.

    You see as a reporter, I have interviewed those women who walk to the factories at night in Juarez. They walk in fear knowing that killers are out there and hundreds of women have been raped and butchered to death just gong to work.

    As you may know,today hundreds of these murders are still unsolved.

    So again, I have a different perspective because I've talked to these woman. I look at it from a different side than just bad marketing of make up. When you're a multimillion dollar company you should take the time to investigate every aspect of a new campaign before you launch.

    We never said MAC or Rodarte did this on purpose, they did it out of ignorance

    Thanks for listening,



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