Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Teacher, Author

Positive Activism Exciting Update: Talking back to Candie’s

Fake ad by Lexie at Beauty Redefined

Things are heating up in our “Talk Back to Candie’s” anti-campaign! Beauty Redefined and NewHavenRTC, along with a lot of readers, have joined with me in supporting SPARK Summit’s creative attempt to get  Candie’s attention by telling them that we don’t agree with their sexualized ad campaigns. You can join us by submitting fake ads that question their messages through their online ad campaign contest.

What makes this particularly important, is that Candie’s Clothing company is linked with the Candie’s Foundation, which does great work in teaching adolescents and young adults about the realities of teen pregnancy in an effort to prevent it. Their goals are noble, and their methods are interesting to teens because they use celebrities and popular culture to try to connect teens with the topic. They’ve even commissioned their own research studies to see if their use of celebrities is helping share their message of pregnancy prevention. What great work, right?

So, the question is, why is the clothing line connected to this foundation proud of using, “sexy but playful concepts” as they say on their website? These clothes, according to their own website and in looking at the size charts on the Kohl’s website, are designed for children aged 4-16 and junior sizes. In other words, these are kids clothes! Even the shoes are in the Girls and Junior departments at Kohl’s, although of course women can buy the shoes too. Now, in reading the company description of their consumer for this brand, would you have guessed that these are kids clothes? Here it is:

“She …

• Is connected, all her friends go to her for the latest info- from texting on her sidekick, to chatting on her pink RAZR, she knows it all.

• Meets her friends at the hottest places with Fergie and Beyonce blaring in the background

• Is naturally self-confident and sexy, flirtatious, smart and perfectly edgy, all the girls want to be her friend and all the guys want to date her

• Goes to the biggest parties and makes them her own, creating a buzz wherever she is

• Is sassy, clever and stylish, she takes her fashion cues from the latest runway shows the brand video Available on the website

More irony, Kohl’s, the store that has exclusive rights to Candie’s apparel, says on its website:

“We actively support kids’ health and education initiatives in communities nationwide. With over a decade of dedication and hundreds of millions of dollars raised, we aim to give kids a happier, healthier future. From injury prevention, immunization and nutrition programs to scholarships and cause merchandise, we are committed to making a difference for kids so that someday they can make a difference in the world.”

I’m so confused by this. We have a company and an organization with positive goals, which put a lot of money toward helping children and adolescents in very admirable ways, and yet, they are building their consumer success for the Candie’s clothing brand on the bodies of young women. Candie’s Foundation works hard to prevent teen pregnancy while Candie’s Clothing line is using sexy marketing campaigns. Hmm…this does not add up.

Here’s the weird thing, despite the sexy ads, the Candie’s clothing sold at Kohl’s isn’t particularly sexy on the whole. So, why the sexed up ad campaign? Both of these companies need to hear from consumers that we are happy to support their initiatives, but not through the sexualization of young girls. Why not have their “It” girl helping people, playing sports, or having fun with friends rather than lying around by herself in a bikini like she’s in a men’s magazine or wearing a bikini, heels, and kiddy swim ring, which promotes the connection of sexiness and childishness?

Get involved in some positive activism, and go online and make an ad to make your point. These companies seem to have some good intentions, so let’s call them to stand up for them! You can also talk to the manager at your local Kohl’s store, or draft a letter, email, or call their corporate offices and share your concerns with them about the mixed messages that they’re sending to kids and families.


If you’re looking for some clothing companies that promote positive, age appropriate images to children, try checking out these two companies that I’ve written about Pigtail Pals, 7Wonderlicious, as well as Princess Free Zone and one of my favorite online sites for quality, appropriate clothes that your kids will love to wear, Hanna Andersson.  All of these companies have fun, colorful clothing, some for both boys and girls, that let your kid look like a kid. If you know of other positive clothing options, please share them!

Contact Kohl’s:

Kohl’s Department Stores

Attn: Community Relations Department

N56 W17000 Ridgewood Drive

Menomonee Falls, WI 53051

Tel: (262) 703-7000

Fax: (262) 703-6305

E-mail: community.relations@kohls.com

Kohl’s.com Costumer Service:

Please direct any questions concerning Kohls.com to this toll free number:

Phone Toll Free:

(866) 887-8884



7am to 10pm CDT Monday through Saturday

9am to 10pm CDT, Sunday

Candie’s contact information:



1450 Broadway
New York, New York 10018

United States

Phone: 212-730-0030
Fax: 212-391-2057

Some more entries: Make an ad to make a point

Ad campaign entry

One comment on “Positive Activism Exciting Update: Talking back to Candie’s

  1. Beauty Redefined
    May 6, 2011

    Awesome background research on this company! I didn’t know they were involved in more uplifting projects outside of trashy clothing and terrible advertising, which apparently sends very contradictory messages from the causes they represent. Thanks for providing more context for this awful ad campaign, even if it makes the whole thing even more troubling!

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