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Fashion brand Badblood under fire for ‘blackfishing’ on Instagram

Asian model’s skin darkened to make clothes ‘look even better’

A now-deleted Instagram post from Badblood has been criticized for “blackfishing.” (Badblood’s Instagram)
A now-deleted Instagram post from Badblood has been criticized for “blackfishing.” (Badblood’s Instagram)
Women’s loungewear brand Badblood has been forced to apologize for darkening the skin of one of its models amid accusations of blackfishing.

In a recent Instagram post, the brand offered its “sincere apologies” and asked for the “benefit of the doubt” after taking down the controversial post.

“By increasing the contrast between our clothes and that of the model, we unfortunately thought our clothes would look even better,” the company said.

The apology came days after a thread of tweets criticizing Badblood’s Instagram post promoting its Tencel cashmere cami went viral last week.

“I had a mix of emotions ranging from shock, anger, disbelief and frustration because I thought brands would do better than fake someone’s skin color when there are many beautiful and talented black models all over Korea who work with other brands,” said Amaal Abdulkadir, the 25-year-old teacher in London who wrote the tweets.

Having been a customer of the brand before, she was scrolling through her Instagram feed Thursday night when she stumbled upon the post.

“At first I was like, oh, they finally used a black model,” she told The Korea Herald.

“Then I looked closer at the picture and noticed the tattoos on the model looked similar to another one of their models and that the picture had been heavily edited or airbrushed.

“I then went and looked at their posts and compared the tattoos from the same model but from another post and I was shocked to find out that it was the same model.”

Abdulkadir said the act of pretending to be black or mixed race using hairstyles and makeup -- also known as blackfishing -- is harmful to black people.

“It is harmful and offensive to black people because it capitalizes off the ‘exotic’ looks of historically oppressed minorities and that is what Badblood were doing essentially by ‘darkening’ their models skin color to sell a product.”

Celebrities including Ariana Grande, Kim Kardashian and Jessi have been accused of blackfishing in recent years.

Badblood said on Instagram that it would pay more attention to the content it produced, and promised to train its staff in the wake of the incident.

The company has been contacted for comment.

Abdulkadir says she has not received an apology directly from the brand, though a model who works for the brand has offered one.

By Yim Hyun-su (