H&M is known for selling affordable and chic clothes around the globe, but with so many stores in different locales, you’d think the company would know how to provide great customer service. However, after the retailer was called out on Twitter for not having images of Black models hanging in its stores in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa, the company showed how not to handle criticism.

When Tlalane Letlhaku instructed H&M South Africa to “please work on” incorporating images of Black models in its stores, the brand responded by saying it strives to “convey a positive image” in its stores. 


Perplexed by the company’s responses, other Twitter users asked H&M South Africa to explain.

After listing off the models of color they’ve used in the past to attempt to counter the narrative that they didn’t feel Black models conveyed a “positive image,” H&M South Africa apologized for it clumsy, and some say offensive, response.

The PR dustup happened just days before H&M opens another store in the Sandton section of Johannesburg. While it’s unclear if that store will have adverts with Black models, it’s clear H&M needs to do a better job of making sure their stores reflect the local community.

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