On January 28th, 2013, I sent the following email to Tea Collection children's clothing line:
"Dear Tea Collection,
I am a 34-year-old wife and mother of a 16-month-old girl, Amina. I have been buying Tea Collection for her since her newborn days and I love the clothing--the colorful patterns and unique designs (and the lack of pink, which is hard to find in girl's clothing!), the layering options, and the fact that they are all machine washable (a must for a toddler in daycare).
However, I just felt compelled to comment on what I saw as an incredible lack of diversity in the current, South Africa-themed catalog, which I received in the mail over the weekend. My husband and I were surprised that despite the "African" theme, there were virtually no children of color featured in the catalog, with the exception of a few Asian American children. If one looks closely, there do appear to be a couple of light-skinned black children in the catalog, but this is far from a sufficient representation of diversity. As the mother of a half-African child (my husband hails from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania), I was disappointed to see really no children that looked like her in the catalog. Were there no black or Latino child models available for the shoots? Or perhaps your market research suggests that inclusion of a couple of biracial black children is sufficient to render the catalog "diverse?"
Despite Tea Collection's purported appreciation of international cultures and diversity, the current catalog does not look like America, nor the world.
In response to the above email, a Tea Collection representative simply stated that they are limited by whoever shows up for their casting calls. For a company whose motto is "Globally-inspired children's clothes for little citizens of the world," it is sadly ironic that their catalogs do not reflect this spirit. Please help us convince Tea Collection that they should take a more proactive, socially responsible stance on ensuring a diverse selection of child models in their catalogs. Their catalogs should better reflect both the cultures from which they draw inspiration, as well as the diversity of their customer base.