beauty

"The kids' clothing catalogue that broke my heart."

Sydney mum Ellen Adele Tang just wanted to buy her two-year-old son a pair of shorts from Country Road. The shorts arrived, and they were cute. But it was the catalogue that came with them that upset her.

Her son looked at the catalogue and jokingly asked, “Where am I?”

“But then I looked – and he’s not there,” Tang says. “In fact, the only kids who are there are blonde Caucasian kids.”

Tang took to Country Road’s Facebook page to protest.

“It broke my heart that companies like yours don’t think that kids like him are beautiful enough to sell your clothing,” she wrote. “I know this company is only a part of a far wider system that has very specific ideas about who looks good and who doesn’t, but I’m sure you could only win more fans with a catalogue that looks a little more like Australia does.”

Beautiful kids. image via istock

Country Road replied to Tang, saying that they do not discriminate.

"Both runway shows and campaigns across our brands have featured models with a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and will continue to do so," the spokesperson said. "However, model selection is based on the needs of each campaign and not on the basis of ethnicity."

The "needs of each campaign" answer wasn't enough for Tang.

"I haven't seen every campaign, but I have looked at every image ever posted on the CR Instagram account, and it really doesn't feature models with a range of ethnic backgrounds," she wrote back. "It features a range of beautiful Caucasian adults and children."

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Soon, other people were backing her up.

"Perhaps if we saw some examples of where Country Road has used models from ethnically diverse backgrounds we would be more convinced," another woman commented.

"Hopefully one day the world of advertising will catch up with the world of normal people!" image via istock

Tang took her post to a Facebook mums' group, and got a lot of support. But there were also those who dismissed it as a non-issue.

"It seemed like most of the people who thought it was a non-issue were people who aren't worried about their kids experiencing racism or negative stereotyping," she says. "It was a bit disappointing, though, that they couldn't see why it might be hard for a kid to grow up in a world where certain faces are considered more beautiful than others - and those faces don't look like theirs."

Tang says she's lucky enough to live in a "lovely multicultural suburb", and on a day-to-day basis, race isn't an issue for her kids.

"Hopefully one day the world of advertising will catch up with the world of normal people!"

Would you like to see more diversity in advertising?

We sought comment from Country Road, but had not heard back from them at the time of publication.

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