A local thrift store last night apologized for a racial slur broadcasting by one of its owners and only featuring skinny ethnic Chinese models after being called out online.
A founder of Five Finds, located in the City Gate shopping mall, apologized for saying the N-word in a livestream and not including a more racially and physically diverse lineup of models after an unidentified former Malay employee complained about her failed efforts to diversify the brand.
“We would like to acknowledge and apologise for our mistakes. Indeed, we need to do better to address the absence of diversity among the models we feature. […] But we failed to make a serious effort to find a diverse group of models that truly reflects Singapore’s thrift community even after [the employee] made this point,” co-founder Rachel Wong wrote.
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Wong also apologized for describing background music played during a promotional livestream using a racial epithet and then laughing about it.
“It was deeply disrespectful and hurtful to black people and other minorities, even though it was made in reference to a song. This is inexcusable and I will do better to understand how my privilege blindsides me. I am sorry to everyone I hurt,” she wrote.
Her mea culpa came hours after the ex-employee’s complaint went up on Instagram. In it, she alleged that the brand catered only to petite sizes and mainly featured Chinese models in its marketing. She said the store responded to suggestions it include larger clothing and other races did not fit its “image” and “style.”
“I was quite concerned at how all the clothes there were small, and how the models were all skinny and [C]hinese – aka the SG standard of beauty,” she wrote.
After raising the issue multiple times, the woman wrote that management acceded, and had settled on a “few choices of models” including people of color and different body types. But nothing ever came of it; the shortlisted models said they never heard back from the store.
“I was beyond horrified really because I thought them hiring me meant they were open to featuring minorities. I was there anyway right? Was I just the token minority? Was I really just there for show?” she added.
Five Finds, which operates under the slogan “Made to empower you towards the greater good,” says it donates 20% of proceeds to charitable causes.
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This article, Singapore shop to ‘do better’ after using N-word to sell clothes fashioned by skinny Chinese girls, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.