Changing the name of a dresses colour based on the size of the wearer (or what have Sea Cows/Manatees in common with my wardrobe)


STOP PRESS!! Have you tried the YouTube Playlist featuring all of my compositions for the TRANSFORMATES? Here it is:


I would like to share with you something that was spotted recently in the USA.

A well-known retail company was discovered a couple of days ago to be selling the same coloured, identically styled, ladies dress using a very different name for the colour of the product aimed at ‘Plus-sized’ ladies compared with that intended for those of a more slender body size.

Put simply the colour of the average sized (Kimono Maxi) dress was Dark Heather Grey. Clearly a name intended to inspire pleasant thoughts about nicely flowing fabrics which accompany the wearer on picnics in the countryside (a personal interpretation although admittedly I rarely go on picnics wearing Kimono type dresses).

The same style of dress marketed as being ‘Plus-sized’ in the same tone of colour was promoted as Manatee Grey. I originally read about this interesting marketing approach in the German press where Manatee Grey is translated as ‘Sea Cow’ grey. Our German friends have a somewhat basic way of describing things which leaves little to the imagination. I am not sure what kind of idyllic image the marketing team intended to create for lady customers by their use of the name Sea Cow grey.

I also struggle to visualise a lady going into a shoe shop to find accessories for her new Sea Cow coloured dress. OK as a man I have to admit that it might just be possible that Manatee or Sea Cow handbags and shoes are all the rage this season. Since the Manatee is a protected species clearly these would have to be reproductions. By the way if you would like to find out more about these wonderful animals please take a look at the link here.

I will not stoop to naming and shaming the company that originally used this rather unusual approach to body-size market segmentation based on colour perceptions. Their actions were made public on Twitter by the Designer and Art Director Susan Clemens on April 2nd. The marketing company has since apologised and is striving to rename all articles under the single colour: dark heather grey.

Of course, since we live in a diverse and inclusive World you have to ask yourself how does the poor Manatee feel about all of this. We may have inadvertently offended a perfectly innocent creature simply because of the colour of its skin. So to balance this I intend from now on to refer to all of my rather grey underpants as Manatee grey to ensure this dear endangered species once again feels included in the wardrobes of human society.

For German reading visitors to this site you can find an article on this subject (the Manatee dress that is – not my underpants) by following the link here.

Here’s to the Sea Cow’s of this World,

Chris Duggleby    

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