Zimmermann Put On Blast For “Grooming Guide” That Reads Like It’s Erasing Black Identity

Fashion label Zimmermann has come under serious fire after an internally-circulated “grooming guide” was leaked publicly. The guide doesn’t feature a single Black person as an aspirational image for staffers, and also makes it practically impossible for Black employees to wear their hair naturally at work.

The company’s “Grooming and Presentation Standards” guide – shared by Diet Prada on Instagram this morning – details how Zimmermann staff are expected to present themselves while working on shop floors around the world. The document goes through an intense amount of expensive makeup products to achieve a “clean, dewy and natural look” – immediately pricing out those who can’t afford luxury brands – and strict hair-styling rules that prohibits high buns, top knots, plaits, and braids.

The styling requirements from the cult-fave boho label has been criticized for making it basically impossible for black employees to wear their hair naturally, and instead promoting and favouring the ideals of Anglo, Caucasian and Eurocentric beauty.

It is alleged that this personal grooming document was shared within the company up until September 2019, and was also only updated to include aspirational images of Asian models after staffers made complaints about a serious lack of diversity.

Former Zimmermann intern Desiree Celestin has also made allegations of racism and gaslighting rooted within the company’s employees in its US offices, claiming that a higher-up employee once mocked a Black model’s hair and compared it to a handful of dust on the ground. Former intern Maci Marie Bourgeois also claimed her hair was compared to a “furry scarf” during her time within the company, and other Black interns have also shared their experiences of not being allowed to attend runway shows and being told they “didn’t understand the brand.”

After the former interns stepped forward with their experiences, Zimmermann posted its diversity commitment to Instagram – which drew further allegations of employees being racist toward customers, and calls for the company to work harder on diversity in its representation and chosen models. At the time of writing, Zimmermann has not issued a statement or comment about the leaked grooming standards guide.