MAC Cosmetics/Rodarte: Should MAC Donate All or Should We Boycott?

M.A.C. Cosmetics/Rodarte is releasing a makeup collection on September 15, 2010, called Rodarte.  Many have found this collection to be offensive in the product naming and the promotional pictures.  The collection of makeup was inspired by a road trip they took from Marfa Texas to the border town between Texas and Mexico, a city called Juarez (formerly El Paso del Norte). 

Ciudad Juarez is an extremely dangerous city, possibly one of the most dangerous cities outside of an official war zone.   Between Juarez and El Paso, there are already over 2 Million people.  The remains of hundreds of people, mostly women,  have been found buried along the outskirts of  Juarez, one of the fastest growing cities in the world.  Thousands of people are missing. Over 400,000 people have left the city because of the extreme violence.   Since the rise of maquiladoras (basically sweatshops of female workers where the minimum wage is $2.30 per hour, including cash and benefits; 48 hour work weeks), NAFTA in 1994 (which eliminated trade barriers between Mexico, United States and Canada thus attracting many to Juarez), government corruption and  heavy narcotic trafficking between Mexico and the United States (which have resulted in many turf wars between drug cartels), Juarez has asked the U.N. to intervene due to the city’s horrific conditions.  Last week a drug cartel gang detonated it’s first car bombing which killed a federal police officer and 2 others.  Could it be the “most dangerous place in the world?”.   

Living in Texas, I’ve always been warned never to go into Mexico through Juarez.  The city is especially dangerous for all women. 

In response to the controversial campaign M.A.C. has issued the following statements via http://www.temptalia.com:

  • We are committed to donating $100,000 to a non-profit organization that has a proven, successful track-record helping women in need and that can directly improve the lives of women in Juarez in a meaningful way.
  • We are changing the product names in the M·A·C Rodarte collection. (courtesy of www.temptalia.com)
  • I think ALL of the profits from this collection should be donated to successful charities benefiting the city of Juarez.   $100,000 is not much money, especially for a city with millions of people and a company as large as M.A.C., whose parent company is Estee Lauder (which also owns: Aramis, Clinique, Prescriptives, Lab Series Skincare for Men, Origins, Tommy Hilfiger, Kiton, La Mer, Bobbi Brown, Donna Karan, Aveda, Jo Malone, Bumble and Bumble, Michael Kors, Darphin, American Beauty, Flirt!, Good Skin Labs, Grassroots Research Labs, Sean John, Missoni, Daisy Fuentes, Tom Ford, Coach, Ojon, and as of  July 1, 2010 Estee Lauder completed the acquisition of Smashbox Beauty Cosmetics).  The exploitation of any city should not be tolerated.  M.A.C. has continued to disappoint and they show no signs of stopping.  I like the colors of the collection and probably would have purchased some of them, but now I will be rethinking my choices and probably boycotting M.A.C.

    What do you think of the ghostly pale promo picture and the insensitive naming of some the products below?:

    Photo: Models on the runway at the Rodarte Fall 2010 Fashion show in New York. (Getty Images/Nellson Barnard)

    from http://www.specktra.net
    M.A.C:
    A haunted, hazy melancholy, like a ’50’s song wafting from the radio of a broken-down blue truck in a sleepy Mexican border town, a girl dressing in the dark, mixing florals, plaids and prints with elements of transparency and opaqueness. The inspiration this season for the sleep-walking dreamscape of Kate and Laura Mulleavy, two seemingly demu sisters from Pasadena, California, who have managed to turn the international fashion world upside down, with collection after collection of some of the most technically twisted and elaborately constructed clothes so unsual and fascinating, we simply had to form a MAC collaboration. Created from the Rodarte leitmotif, in which primitivism meets futurism for a strange new world, the MAC colours are dramatic and heavily detailed… two handmade baked Mineralize Eye Shadows define the idea of artisanal craftsmanship. Lipglass poured in four layers – one in a warm pink and mint colour wave, the second in a cool violet and grey variation. Desert taupes, ice whites and blue-pinks are taken from the clothes for Pigments and lipsticks. Soft, “Beautiful Zombie” Powder and Powder Blush are embossed with the chic Rodarte logo. Only for the most sophisticated among us, the rage for Rodarte is on.

     
    Lipstick ($14.00 U.S. / $16.50 CDN)
    Ghost town- Sheer white with white, gold and green pearlized pigment (frost)
    Rose State- Mid- tone blue pink (lustre)
    Sleepless- Light grey taupe (frost)

    Lipglass ($14.00 U.S. / $16.50 CDN)
    Rodarte- Pale creamy pink with layers of sparkling white, mint, and pink
    del Norte- Light creamy violet with layers of sheer sparkling taupe, pink and grey

    Lip erase ($16.00 U.S. / $19.00 CDN)
    Pale

    Mineralize Eye Shadow ($19.50 U.S. / $23.50 CDN)
    Bordertown- black with red, pale blue, and silver veining (frost)
    Sleepwalker- beige with copper, pale blue and pale pink veining (frost)

    Pigment ($19.50 U.S. / $23.50 CDN)
    White Gold- white pearl with gold duochrome
    Kitchmas- shimmering pink/mauve
    Mauvement- Cool taupe with gold pearl
    Badlands- mid tone shimmer beige brown

    Chromographic pencil ($14.50 U.S. / $17.50 CDN)
    NW25/NC30

    Beauty Powder ($25.00 U.S. / $30.00 CDN)
    Softly Drifting- pale neutral white-ish pink with soft gold pearl

    Powder Blush ($18.50 U.S./$22.00 CDN)
    Quinceanera- shimmery mid-tone blue pink

    Nail Lacquer ($12.00 U.S. / $14.50 CDN)
    Juarez- brigh opal pink (frost)
    Factory- Light opal mint (frost)

    M.A.C. did not name “Viva Glam Program”  lipsticks names related to h.i.v./aids.

    Now look at these pictures and think of some positive names for the products (click the pictures for credit) via flickr:
    Sierra Juarez de Oaxaca(HDR)

    El Paso and Juarez, Mexico

    <br><br>Please see: http://colorlines.com/archives/2010/07/rodarte_mac_juarez.html

    and

    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1knTaNYIB8xZvOisopRfMpn18AyFXgF_Eh2OAfKqwC88

    and

    http://allydodd.wordpress.com/

    Please share your thoughts!

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    12 Comments (+add yours?)

    1. Jess
      May 20, 2012 @ 03:40:51

      I’m sorry if my comment confronts of offends you in just quirks 🙂

      Reply

    2. Jess
      May 20, 2012 @ 03:40:04

      Does Mac use sweatshops

      Reply

    3. tee
      Aug 18, 2010 @ 13:41:10

      Hmm there’s a lot of situations where big companies make mistakes like these. I can tell you feel strongly about them not donating enough to the town but they could have just apologized and not offered to donate at all. Yes i agree they make a great load of money and especially for their prices in Australia, it’s really way too high but they are a business, it’s the way the economy works so yes they could have donated more but they don’t have to so boycotting them might be a bit extreme.
      I also agree with others that the designers probably didn’t take much time to research or know the city. The names they used for the products are not very well used if the background story is known but if there was no story and these names were used, it would seem very normal to me because it’s typical MAC names. I dont like the promotional posters though, the models do look too pale and ‘dead’ and it sort of creeps me out, but this is also art, and it’s not suppose to look normal. It matches the collection and thats how it’s always been.
      Yes it is very weird where the inspiration came from, they could have done a better job at creating a less offensive background story and used names better.

      Reply

      • pumpkincat210
        Aug 18, 2010 @ 16:46:03

        whatever the outcome ends up being, people will show their feeling through their wallets. i think m.a.c. made the right decision by donating all the profits, their customers spoke loudly in support of Juarez. I think MAC realized their insensitivity and that if they didn’t donate then they’d lose a lot of customers in the long run.

        Reply

    4. ttown
      Aug 17, 2010 @ 01:56:37

      i think its all being blown up. did anybody think to question the designers themselves? no. they were inspired by something and just because the area is not of the best condition doesnt mean mac or the designers should be blamed. the makeup and pictures relate back to fall and winter collections. Its trend and makeup not politics or anything that serious.. relax! mac does alot of good with their money and they dont have to donate anything but they are. so be appreciative.

      Reply

    5. LookingGlass
      Aug 16, 2010 @ 22:04:43

      Another blogger that I follow said this very well, but in reference to the Vogue Italia ‘Oil Spill’ fashion spread. I think it applies here too:

      “Fashion itself is frivolous. It doesn’t exist to change worlds and alter the course of human history. It exists as an escape, as a world inside a world where people can walk in 8 inch heels and wear their social commentary on their backs…. (W)e are forced to ask ourselves deeper questions – Is every world event that elicits a negative emotional response taboo in our culture? Is everything even remotely disturbing or thought provoking or even catastrophic permanently off limits for artists? I hope not. Art is here to question that status quo. It’s here to present a view you haven’t seen before, express a voice you haven’t heard. And if that voice and silenced and that vision shuttered by oppressive criticisms when no harm is being caused then we have a serious problem.”

      Reply

      • pumpkincat210
        Aug 16, 2010 @ 22:32:15

        Thanks for your response. I agree that art should not be oppressed, and MAC is controversial, but because the company is so large and will no doubt make a lot of money from the collection just by printing their logo on the packaging alone, they should have planned ahead to release information on the city or Juarez and set aside a portion of their profits before hand. The names of the products and the collection images depict the deceased and attempt to glamourize it. It is insulting to the people that live in Juarez or have been affected by the living and working conditions there. Having Rupaul as a spokesperson and a lipstick named cockatease was controversial to some, but a large, wealthy company having a makeup collection glamourizing something bad, solely for profits is entirely different. MAC obviously did not think ahead…and I love the models they used in the 2 promo pictures saw, not one hispanic? Strictly white females.
        Anyway, I hope they did bring awareness to the city’s problems and in the future will remember that compassion is important to a brand that tout’s all ages, all sexes, all races.

        Reply

    6. voilakait
      Jul 29, 2010 @ 17:01:46

      I completely agree that the promotional pictures of this line are inappropriate –I’m sorry, making models look like dead women might be shocking, but given the inspiration for this line it’s just gross.
      BUT
      on the positive side MAC is drawing attention to an issue that most American’s probably do not think about. They are raising awareness for the situation down there, even if it’s unintentional. I’m from the North East, and knew nothing about Ciudad Juarez until I heard about the controversy with MAC.
      Also, I don’t think the names were meant to offend anyone. To me (remember someone from the North East who has never been further south than MA 🙂 ) words like “border town” and “sleepless” and “ghost town” invoke images of those sleepy western towns you see in old movies. Of course, to an informed person these names are incredibly offensive. Especially “factory”. But I think if MAC is guilty of anything it’s ignorance. Seems to me they were “inspired” by the town without really spending much time there, or understanding anything about it… Hopefully the public outrage will teach them a lesson.

      Reply

      • pumpkincat210
        Jul 31, 2010 @ 01:54:02

        I agree, they were very ignorant to spread awareness in the fashion they did. M.A.C. didn’t intend to donate money to Juarez until after public out cry. They have raised awareness, now MAC needs to back it up by donating more than $100,000 to a city of +1 million people. And people like ourselves should either donate to a reputable charity aimed at helping Juarez and write letters to our lawmakers asking them to work harder with Mexico to make sure the workers (female) are being payed what they deserve without thousands losing their jobs. The corruption in the governments need to stop. I realize a non corrupt government is impossible, but this is ridiculous.

        Reply

    7. thelittleperfectionist
      Jul 23, 2010 @ 23:39:01

      I don’t think we should Boycott them. Inspiration for beauty and fashion is found everywhere, no matter how odd or offending, which I am pretty sure was not intended. I actually think the dark eye and natural lips and cheeks look actually looks pretty great. Kind of odd where the origination of the idea came from though.

      Reply

      • pumpkincat210
        Jul 24, 2010 @ 00:51:18

        Thank you for commenting. You are right, inspiration for beauty is found everywhere, however I think MAC should have presented the collection in a classier way.
        The product naming especially bothers me with names like factory and ghost town and bordertown. The factories they are talking about exploit the women to the point of them have to bring in used tampons or sanitary napkins to show they are not pregnant and able to work. They make nothing compared to what we make.
        I don’t like Ghost town, are they referring to all the people killed, so many people died in 2009 a travel warning was issued. Hardly a ghost town, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
        Bordertown is offensive in the way that everyone knows they are dangerous. Associating it with the collection in the overall manner leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
        The others like zombie and sleepless aren’t comforting either.
        Edgy names are always a good way to sell a particular brand but this was a tasteless collaboration of looks and names.
        If M.A.C. made this collection to stir up controversy to sell it, why hadn’t they based the collection on awareness for the city of Juarez, a donation and names appropriate for the city.
        The girl in the picture looks dead. That does not represent the majority of women in Juarez. If I were from Juarez and I’d seen the collection images and product names I would have been insulted. There was no compassion for a city that has been devestated by violence and poverty. While i’m sure many ethnicities reside in Juarez, there isn’t on Mexican or Hispanic in the mix?
        Currently shares of Estee Lauder (nyse: el), the parent of MAC cosmetics, are listed on the new york stock exchange as trading at 62.67 Up 0.40 (0.64%), but it has recently been downgraded from hold to sell. To be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) a company must have issued at least a million shares of stock worth $100 million and must have earned more than $10 million over the last three years. That’s a lot of money for them to “play” with. It is insulting to only donate $100,000 dollars to a huge city only after you’ve been confronted with possible exploitation. I will boycott the pretty collection, but now have been driven to donate to another organization.
        It seems as if they could have done this in a much better way, even if they do profit, it bothers me they pretend to care but really want more money. All of the names could have been used but not together in this collection in my belief.
        And yes beauty can be offending and is found in strange places, I totally agree, but if that’s MAC’s profiting strategy it’s pretty sad and disgusting.

        Reply

      • pumpkincat210
        Jul 24, 2010 @ 00:55:47

        I didn’t mean to scare you with my post, I have been thinking a lot about this lately.

        Reply

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