Reclassify “Oriental” and “Floriental” in the fragrance industry.

Reclassify “Oriental” and “Floriental” in the fragrance industry.

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Scent Festival started this petition to Euro Fragrance Antoine de Riedmatten

This is a petition to reclassify “Oriental” and “Floriental” in the fragrance industry. We want to  discontinue its current use and replace it with terminology that is inoffensive and based on raw materials and their olfactory attributes, the foundation of perfumery. This petition seeks to create space for Intersectional Perfumery.

Why is using “Oriental or Floriental” problematic?

  • 1. “Oriental” and “Floriental” have no true olfactive meaning. No other industry uses these terms in their flavor wheels. Not wine, whiskey, chocolate, tea nor beer.
  • 2. These terms are outdated, derogatory and offensive.
  • 3. These words were formed through the lens of Colonialism when Anglo-European countries viewed themselves as the center of the world and everything else was East, sensual, exotic and fetishized.
  • 4. The ‘Orient’ attempts to encapsulate a vast region, including the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, where many ancient perfumery practices and raw materials originated. The consistent use of the term to summon the exotic and redolent erases the imperialism and Islamophobia that continue to destabilize these areas of the world today.
  • 5. There is a growing global cultural shift towards dismantling colonialism, systemic racism and white supremacy. 
  • 6. There is a movement towards the equitable representation of and investment in BIPOC and marginalized people across all industries, in media, communities, education and business.
  • 7. The Obama Administration enacted legislation sponsored by U.S. Representative Grace Meng, eliminating “Oriental” from U.S. Government documents when referring to people of Asian American heritage.
  • 8. Asian Hate crimes have risen since the start of the pandemic. This is largely due to the continued Othering and dehumanizing of many cultures perpetrated by Orientalism, which continues to uphold colonial mindset. 

By signing this Petition, you recognize the problematic use of “Oriental” and “Floriental,” and you pledge to stop using these terms. Signing this Petition also means, you will do your best to take an internal audit and change language and attitudes for the benefit of evolving the fragrance industry and community at large.

We call on global citizens, fragrance consumers, beauty and fragrance brands, suppliers, educators, and members of the media, including journalists & social media influencers.

  • 1. Take action! Learn ways to be more inclusive, both in your personal life and also worklife.
    2. Be courageous! Demand brands and retailers change their language on their website, packaging and marketing materials, especially educational content.
    3. Hold them accountable. 6-12 months a reasonable time frame to check-in on brands and their progress. 
  • 4. Ensure adequate representation of BIPOC at decision making positions at these companies. What ways can diverse talent be fostered? 

SIGN NOW to Decolonize Scent & Deodorize Racism and Create Space for Intersectional Perfumery.

ALTERNATE WORDS: Use descriptive scent words like Amber, Floramber, Spice, Woody, Resin, Incense or Gourmand specifying the olfactive profile.
Mukhallat. (Mu-KAH-llat) Arabic for “mix” is used to describe a scent usually made with a saffron-rose-oud accord, specifically used by communities in the G.C.C countries (UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar)
Vamber. (Vanilla + Amber) or Florvamber (Floral + vamber)*

RESOURCES:

  1. Visit Scent Festival's Linktree and click Resources for background and history and also the Diverse Database
  2. Harper's Bazaar - “Why are we still describing Perfumes as Oriental?” Article by Jessica Matlin, 2021
  3. Flare - “Does Anyone Else Think It's Weird That "Oriental" Is a Widely Used Perfume Category?” Article by Madelyn Chun, 2019
  4. Orientalism - seminal work by Edward Said, 1978
  5. BBC - Orientalism - 3 min video explaining Edward Said's Orientalism, 2019
  6. Smell of Risk - Environmental Disparities and Olfactory Aesthetics by Hsuan L Hsu, 2020.
  7. Perfume on the Radio - Podcast - Embodied, Episode 4, Scent & Other, Institute for Art and Olfaction, 2020
  8. Bois de Jasmin - "Is It Time to Rename the Oriental Fragrance Family?" Article by Victoria Frolova, 2021
  9. CBC News - "Stop using 'Oriental' to describe perfumes, say industry advocates"
  10. Trendaroma - "The ‘Oriental’ category is being replaced by ‘Ambery’ on the fragrance wheel"
  11. Beauty Matters - Key Takeaways from Scent Festival
  12. Retail Beauty AU, “Clayton Ilolahia: From Oriental to Amber”
  13. Perfume Room Podcast, Fragrance Foundation, Linda G Levy
  14. Nez, Part 1, Disoriented perfumery, first part: amber or oriental? A family story, Clement Paradis
  15. Nez, Part 2, A disoriented perfumery, second part: orientalism & colonial aesthetics, Clement Paradis
  16. Perfume Room Podcast, Decolonize Scent, Yosh Han

Updated Fragrance Wheels:
Michael Edwards, announced in a press release that his company, Fragrances of the World is committed to changing their vernacular starting July 2021. From now on, USA and UK versions of their publications and fragrance wheels are moving forward with the following changes in English. British Society of Perfumers scent a press release advocating for these changes. Fragrance Foundation scent a memorandum urging their members to do the same. CPL Aromas have updated their olfactive mapping in alignment with the new updated fragrance wheel. 

Oriental will be reclassified as Amber
Soft Oriental will be Soft Amber
Floral Oriental will be Floral Amber
Woody Oriental will be Woody Amber

In France, the updated word will be Ambrée. Press Release: Oriental Recommendation: La Société Internationale des Parfumeurs-Créateurs, Cinquième Sens Blog Post
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This petition is made possible by a small community of perfumers who gathered during the pandemic, during summer 2020. Their knowledge, expertise and guidance has shaped much of this language. 

Yosh Han, (Los Angeles) Founder, YOSH and Scent Festival 
Dana El Masri, (Montreal) Founder, Jazmin Saraï 
Rawya Catto, (Dubai) Founder, Scent Creatives
Ryan Day Castle, (New York) Fragrance Brand Strategist who coined “Vamber”
Tanaïs (New York), Founder, Studio Tanaïs and In Sensorium 
Terees Western (Detroit), Founder, FragranTed

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