Rodarte for MAC Cosmetics - A Collaboration Doomed from the Start?

I am sure by now most of you are aware of the new collection by MAC and also the controversy it is causing. I am also pretty sure you have probably seen numerous blogs about the collection in question. 

If I am honest with you I wasn't actually going to write about it, however after reading quite alot about Ciudad Ju├írez I thought I would talk about why the 'inspiration' for the Rodarte ready to wear Fall '10 line just cannot be translated into a makeup collection. 

So as this is a pretty in depth topic (and I sure a lengthy blog post) I think it's only right to explain where the Rodarte fall collection came from. 

Rodarte: The Fashion Label 
Rodarte if you aren't aware is a high fashion label consisting of two sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy. They style is quite dark and gothic with lots of layering however Robarte has been seen on many famous people including Michelle Obama. 
There garments don't come cheap though at upto $10,000 a dress.

RTW Fall 2010 Collection: Inspiration
So for there latest collection the Mulleavy sisters drew inspiration from a long drive from El Paso to Marfa, Texas. Which got them thinking about exploring there Mexican roots. The interest specifically on the troubled boarder town of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. There main 'inspiration' came from the maquiladora factory workers who venture out in the middle of the night to work long shifts in the assembly plants. Which ofcourse led them to this conclusion: They'd build a collection off the idea of sleepwalking. 

(Photo: Patrick McMullan) 

The problems in Juarez
Aside from the under paid and badly treated maquiladora workers. Ciudad Juarez is the world's most violent place outside of an active war zone. The bulk of the violence being brought upon woman, many whom have been raped or at worst murdered. The official reports claim that the bodies of other 400 woman have been found since 1993 and thousands of women also been reported missing. As you can see this is a serious and complex issue that definitely needs to be tackled. 

Which would make you think with Rodarte being interested in such a subject it would highlight some of these issues through interviews and through there collection. 

 Fashion however does have a sneaky way of making sinister issues beautiful.

The video below clearly shows the naive reactions to the collection and how the clothes deliver a totally different message to the original inspiration.

And ofcourse Rodarte made no mention of charity donations or projects to help the violence of Juarez...

Mac Cosmetics for Rodarte: The Collection
The problem first lies with how does a cosmetic company translate an already deeply flawed fashion collection, when it's meant to be 'collaborating' with it. 

Well they can't - the problem only get worse really as a makeup range will always be more accessible than a high fashion range and also more detail to the collection is needed.
Mainly in the product naming. 
When lipsticks are named 'Ghost Town' and 'Sleepless' and nail polishes are called 'Factory' and 'Juarez' consumers are bound to want to know the background of the collection. 

The background being Rodarte took inspiration from Juarez and so now we are too and also we won't donating any of the proceeds to charity. 
I can clearly see why people would highly dislike this and see the naming of the products distasteful. 


However if only they had treated the new collection similar to that of Viva Glam - the collection could of been highly positive and successful. 
People want to be education and know there money is going to a good cause, rather than applying Ghost Town knowing full well there money has made zero difference. 

But of course MAC has announced there plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from the collection to "those in need in Juarez" after they saw the negative response to the upcoming collection. 
Is it too late? No, money is money at the end of the day and atleast some of it will be going to the right place. 
But has the damage already been done? Pretty much. 

How differently could this collection have been handled?

Ofcourse the percentage of the proceeds that will be donated is still unknown (as donating anything at all has definitely been a recent development) but to try an rectify a badly presented collection I personally would like to see atleast 50% of the profits donated to a known and established charity in Juarez. 

My Personal Thoughts
I feel the only positive things to come out of the upcoming collection so far is the awareness it will globally create. Before this came to light I knew nothing of the violence in Mexico, like alot of people I'm sure. It's just a shame it has been in such bad taste and the products are terribly named. 
Having said that, if MAC do decide to donate 50% or more of the proceeds to charity I do not feel that this should be a collection that is boycotted by it's customers - Undoubtedly MAC have got this badly wrong but charity is much more important and that is what we all should focus on. 
As for the distasteful names of the products maybe it would be a good idea if bloggers did not refer to the products by name but by shade or type of product especially as the collection is quite small. 

I know there will be so many opinions on this matter and I would love to hear your views and what you feel MAC could do to rectify this situation. 

There is a list of just afew other Beauty Bloggers that also feel quite passionately about the Rodarte/Mac Collection and have all posted about this matter. (If you aren't on the list and want me to add you just comment below)



  1. I totally agree with your opinions Fee.
    Firstly as to how to The designers could be so almost naive about what is happening in their native country. Secondly for MAC to not fully think about the effect of the naming of the products. I am truly sickened at those names for the collection! How MAC can not afford to give 100% of the profits to charity now is beyond me. However, with my knowledge of the beauty blogging world I doubt that many people will be put off my this 'diasterious mistake' by MAC. I will certainly not be swayed to purchase of the collection until I know what percentage of the profits will be going to charities to help!
    I hope others feel the same. Great post Fee!

  2. Brilliant post, perhaps the best i have read about this collection x

  3. This is a really good and thoughtful post. I'm not part of that list of links but wrote a really quick post about it this afternoon, mainly because I had seen a lot of outrage about it. I personally feel that while what MAC are doing is inappropriate and tasteless and the names are pretty sick, the outrage would be more properly directed towards the fact that this situation in Juarez exists at all. I won't be boycotting MAC, or writing to them to complain. Because I didn't know about this before, and instead I will be directing my efforts towards joining Amnesty International's campaign for the victims in Mexico.

  4. I own a grand total of three MAC products (gel liner, pen/liquid liner, paint pot). I don't buy things from limited collections, so this kind of doesn't apply to me. However, I do not condone the exploitation of anyone in the name of beauty. Quite frankly, to me, that's an oxymoron. There's nothing beautiful about things like this. Thank you for this post, too, because I had no idea this was even going on! I'll have to keep myself updated on how this all progresses.

  5. like you, i had never even heard of the atrocities occurring in juarez and i probably never would have had it not been for the hubbub caused by this collection. so point for mac/rodarte there. but i agree, they just went about it the wrong way and it's leaving such a bad taste in my mouth. i can give mac the benefit of the doubt that like me, they weren't aware of the situation. but the people of rodarte, having done enough research for the line to be naming products "factory," should have known better.

    it's nice that mac is taking the thoughts and opinions of their customers into consideration but i think they can do much more in order to salvage this situation. if they're going to donate proceeds, they NEED to be accountable to the customers. how much are they giving? how do we know they're really going to give it? there needs to be a constant dialogue going on instead of vague statements.

  6. Great post - I have also posted about this subject on my blog..
    I'm truly sickened by MAC and Rodartes actions and lack of thought on this collection. I have seen people comment that "beauty can be found in the worst of things..." Parhaps, but would we name a beauty collection after the genocides in Rwanda, or the Holocaust? No, we wouldn't - lets get real here! Its not appropriate, and MACs statement regarding its afterthought of a promise to donate a portion of profits is just not good enough.

  7. spent all night reading all these blog posts! yours is very well written too, im so pleased we are all raising awareness on this topic! I find the images so creepy :(

    you can read my view here:


  8. Such a well-written post, and I completely agree. You can read mine here if you are interested:

    I am so happy and proud that such a large number of beauty bloggers are speaking out against this collection! xxxx

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  10. I emailed mac to ask them what they're going to do with all the rodarte products they're not going to sell (because they were all already made, ready to ship) and here's what they said -

    "I refer to your email and can confirm that our intention is to re-purpose as many of the components of this collection as possible. Products that are not re-purposed will be shipped to a waste to energy facility."

    It only takes a quick google to find out "waste to energy" is a euphemism for incineration. Personally I think that's even worse that than whole Juarez thing in the first place.

  11. Honestly, I never heard about Juarez until this and now that I've read about it, ya it really does suck horribly and I will donate to a good charity for it, no ones deserves that.

    However; this isn't the only place in the world crimes against humanity and women in general is happening and 1 make-up company donating a portion of proceeds (which since it's MAC, won't be a lot) or chosing not to sell their line based on consumer outrage won't make a difference.

    Poor taste on MAC's part aside, if they release the collection, I'll buy something if I like it, a name is a name and nothing more. I don't care if they don't release it though either, they'll find a way to release the colors after all eventually, buisness is buisness and everybody's out to make a buck.

  12. I USED to love rodarte but what they have done is simply unforgivable. i hope the mullavy sisters go to hell. what were they thinking? giving to charity? they should have just dismissed the whole line.

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