This post has been updated.
Lands’ End, purveyor of wide wale corduroys and round-necked cardigans, has apologized for featuring Gloria Steinem in its catalog and on its website.
The sight of the 81-year-old women’s rights activist and an accompanying interview sent hundreds of outraged pro-life customers to the company’s Facebook page where they called Lands’ End “anti-child.” Some stated they would no longer be outfitting their children in the brand’s clothing.
At least one Catholic school also chose to drop Lands’ End as the provider of its school uniforms, and shared its decision in a Feb. 24 letter to parents, according to ABC 17.
Update Feb. 26, 12pm EST:
A Lands’ End representative told Quartz:
“Lands’ End is committed to providing our loyal customers and their families with stylish, affordable, well-made clothing. We greatly respect and appreciate the passion people have for our brand. It was never our intention to raise a divisive political or religious issue, so when some of our customers saw a recent promotion that way, we heard them. We sincerely apologize for any offense.”
This is probably the brightest spotlight that has shone on Lands’ End since Federica Marchionni, the company’s new CEO (who also conducted the interview with Steinem), joined the company from Dolce & Gabbana, one year ago. Many expected Marchionni, with her high-fashion, Italian pedigree, might bring some refreshing flair to the flagging business. Instead, she seems to have learned a lesson in just how conservative its customer base really is.