Employees Of Retailer Anthropologie Reveal Code Name "Nick" Was Used For Black Customers

Anthropology

Employees Of Retailer Anthropologie Reveal Code Name "Nick" Was Used For Black Customers

The brand faces accusations of hypocrisy after posting for BLM on social media.

Published June 11th

Written by Tira Urquhart

Anthropologie is the latest fashion retailer to be accused of racism, with employees blasting the brand on social media for allegedly having a code name for black shoppers.

Anthropologie was one of the countless brands to share Black Lives Matter posts at the beginning of June — but it was also one of several to get called out for hypocrisy in the comments, with both current and former employees revealing the nickname given to black customers for racial profiling.

Diet Prada revealed in an Instagram post that the code name was exposed by their former employees after Anthropologie posted a Maya Angelou quote to show solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement. Under their comments, Instagram user @flleurdeblooms revealed that the stores would racially profile black customers by calling them “Nicks.”

“So many times the management told us to watch people of color over the headsets and I refused to follow around mostly black people who were just minding their own business and respectfully shopping. Please change.”

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Another day, another boho Karen retailer showing their true shades of beige. Last week, @anthropologie posted a Maya Angelou quote in splashy colors as a “call for equality”. With any mention of the #BlackLivesMatter movement absent, Angelou’s words could be interpreted more along the lines of “All lives matter”, lest Anthro offend their primary target audience. In the comment section, oblivious fans clamored for it to be released as a t-shirt or a poster. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Also in the comment section— claims of deep discriminatory practices. The code names different retailers have used to profile POC shoppers have come to light in lawsuits over the years—Moschino’s “Serena”, Zara’s “special order”, or Versace’s “D410” (the merchandise color code they use for black shirts)—but Anthropologie’s is maybe the most insidious yet. Comments from multiple employees confirm that stores in California, Chicago, Seattle, NYC and Canada use the code name “Nick” to refer to Black shoppers. Associates report being told to watch Black shoppers, and Black shoppers also commented confirming having been followed while shopping in their stores. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Anthropologie followed up with a post of a black square and then some promises of action they’ll take. At the same time, more hypocrisy was taking place at the corporate level. While the retailer was posting about committing to diversifying their workforce, they were at the same time asking POC for free labor. On May 26th, Queer Black creator Lydia Okello ( @styleisstyle ) was approached by a producer to potentially partake in Anthro’s #sliceofhappy Pride month campaign in exchange for a free outfit. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Okello replied with their typical rates and ended up getting trapped in a back and forth volley with no resolution after being told there was no budget for an influencer of their level (22.8k followers). For a campaign aimed to express what happiness means, surely they could’ve anticipated that no one, especially in a month meant to celebrate them, is happy to work for free. • #blacklivesmatter #blm #anthropologie #anthropologiehome #anthro #retail #codename #work #free #influencer #microinfluencer #labor #dietprada

A post shared by Diet Prada ™ (@diet_prada) on

Another user said he thought the Chicago location was the only place where Anthropologie used “Nicks” to specifically reference black customers and said he was glad not to work for the company anymore. Several others also confirmed the code name in different locations such as Seattle, Los Angeles, New York City, and Canada.

We're glad that these brands are being called out for their covert racism. Enough is enough already.

Anthropologie hasn't released a statement in regards to these allegations. 

(Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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