missguided controversies

Hunger pills, underpaid workers, and £1 bikinis: Every single time Missguided messed up

The brand has faced a number of controversies since it began in 2009

Last week it was reported Missguided was on the brink of financial collapse and owed millions to its suppliers. An investigation by The i found three factory owners who supply goods to Missguided allegedly face going bankrupt after not being paid by the brand. A winding-up petition was launched against Missguided by one of the suppliers on 10th May, demanding the company goes in compulsory liquidation, and a Manchester court is set to hear the case in July.

With the announcement of the news many people on Twitter were quick to say “good riddance” and that they weren’t surprised the company was in collapse. A spokesperson for Missguided said the brand was aware of action being taken by creditors and they are working to address it.

Missguided was originally founded in 2009 by CEO Nitin Passi, who earlier this year announced he was stepping down from the role. Since they began they’ve been a fashion partner for Love Island, reached over a million followers on Instagram, and done collaborations with celebrities such as Jourdan Dunn and Sofia Richie. However, over the years Missguided has faced a number of controversies and accusations, from selling a £1 bikini to having to pay Kim Kardashian £2million for copying her looks.

As Missguided faces collapse, these are all the times the brand has messed up:

The ‘slut’ jumper

The first of many controversies, in 2015 Missguided was under fire for selling a jumper with the word “slut” on it.

Many people on Twitter critiqued the jumper saying it was not “appropriate” and “slut” should not be used as a word anymore as it encourages slut shaming, all whilst women are fighting for sexual freedom.

Missguided did not share a comment on the intentions behind the jumper at the time.

Underpaid workers

In January 2017, as part of an undercover Channel 4 documentary, Missguided was found to be one of many fast fashion companies underpaying their workers in factories in Leicester. They were allegedly paying their staff between £3 and £3.50 an hour.

At the time Missguided gave a statement to Channel 4 in which they said they took the allegations seriously and would be conducting an internal investigation.

They said: “We take the allegations … very seriously and demand the highest standards of safety, working conditions and pay from all of our suppliers and subcontractors. We are committed to achieving the standards set by the Ethical Trading Initiative and conduct regular audits and spot-checks of our supply chain.

“We have begun an internal investigation … we will also ensure these matters are addressed urgently by the supplier in the best interests of the workers.”

In 2018, Missguided’s CEO Nitin Passi said they had reduced their supply base in Leicester from around 80 suppliers to 12.

The ‘send nudes’ sign

Back when Missguided had a physical store in Bluewater Shopping Centre, they had to remove a “Send me nudes” sign from the shop after thousands complained.

In 2017, a youth worker called Rachel Gardner shared an image of the neon pink sign on Twitter and said it was disrespectful. People shared Rachel’s comments and said it was “horrendous” and “irresponsible” of the brand to be promoting the message to their young customers.

A petition was started to remove the sign, which more than 9,000 people signed, and within 24 hours the sign was removed from the store.

The £1 bikini

In June 2019 Missguided celebrated 10 years of their brand “empowering women to look and feel good without breaking the bank”…by selling a £1 bikini.

The bikini was met with immediate backlash due to the potential environmental and human costs it supposedly could have had.

Missguided released a statement soon after and said the bikini had cost more than £1 to make, but that they had absorbed the costs of production in order to celebrate their customers.

When they owed Kim Kardashian £2million

In July 2019 the company had to pay Kim Kardashian £2.1million for using her photos and copying her looks.

Earlier in the year Kim had posted a picture of herself in a gold dress and captioned it: “P.S. fast fashion brands, can you please wait until I wear this in real life before you knock it off?”

Only a few hours later a copy of the outfit ended up on Missguided’s Instagram where they directly referenced Kim and said: “the Devil works hard but Missguided works harder @kimkardashian you’ve only got a few days before this ends up online.”

Kim filed a lawsuit against Missguided and told the court the brand was using her name to sell clothes. As part of the lawsuit Kim had side by side images of her next to one by Missguided.

Missguided did not defend themselves in court and were ordered to pay Kim £2.1million and to stop using her “trademarks in connection with the sale, marketing or distribution of its products”

When they had an advert banned for being ‘over-sexualised’

2019 was not a good year for Missguided. Though they were the official fashion sponsor of ITV2’s Love Island, the brand had one of its adverts banned, which was played during the show, for being “overly sexual”.

The advert was shown during the on-demand breaks of Love Island and featured women in small bikinis, running their hands over their bodies, and spreading their legs.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) banned the advert after it received a complaint from a viewer. Missguided maintained the display of skin in the advert was relevant as it was used to promote the summer collection which included bikinis.

The ASA also told Missguided following the ban to not use advertising which objectified women.

When they sold hunger-busting and carb-blocking pills

In April 2020, The Tab reported Missguided was selling ProteinWorld products including hunger-busting, carb-blocking, and fat metaboliser pills on their website.

Missguided was called out by a number of people on Twitter who said selling the pills was targeting young women and profiting off their insecurities.

A month later the brand had taken down the pills and a spokesperson told The Tab the pills were sold by other places as well and were part of a trial scheme, but since the pilot trial was over the pills had been removed from the site.

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