A Twitter-savvy mum has succeeded in getting the Thierry Lasry sunglasses brand – endorsed by celebs from Rihanna to Anne Hathaway – to rename its Anorexxxy frames, after accusing the French designer-shades firm of making light of anorexia, the eating disorder that’s been affecting her own teenage daughter for the past two years.
US mum-of-4 Jennifer Ouellette, 49, couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw that a pair of ‘thin framed’ $500 Thierry Lasry sunglasses has been given the name Anorexxxy.
An outraged Jennifer gathered the online help of a group of friends and, together, they took to Twitter to complain, using the hashtag #anorexxxy and tweeting that “anorexia is not a style statement. This name needs to change.”
Within hours, they’d gathered the support of hundreds of other Twitter users – and Facebook and Instagram – users. One follower tweeted: “#thierrylasry please recall your #anorexxxy sunglasses SHAME ON YOU for using deadly eating disorders to promote your products.”
And this week, Thierry Lasry bowed to the pressure and said they were renaming the Anorexxxy sunglasses ‘Axxxexxxy’. According to a statement of their Facebook page, “this name was not meant to be taken seriously at all”.
In a rather foot-in-mouth explanation, they went to say: “An existing bestselling style named Lively influenced the design of another pair of sunglasses. This new style had the characteristics of having the exact same shape as the Lively but with a much thinner rim and lighter weight. This is why this new frame ended up with the name Anorexxxy.
“We were obviously in no way paying any kind of homage to anorexia as it is a terrible illness. We never wanted to upset anyone.
“However, it seems like we recently have with this name so we’ve decided to rename this style. The frame will, from now on, be stamped on the inside left temple “AXXXEXXXY”. We again apologize for anyone we might have offended. #apology #loveisallweneed.”
Meanwhile, Jennifer’s viral-campaign success has meant she’s had to contend with hate messages from Twitter trolls. But she’s shrugged it all off, even changing her Twitter handle to ‘Menopausal Hen Jenn’ to blow a virtual raspberry at them.
What matters to her is that her campaign has worked. “Even though the name of the sunglasses seems like a silly little thing,” she’s told journalists, “it has an impact on our culture and how our culture perceives anorexia. I couldn’t let it stand.
“If people think anorexia is a style statement, then they don’t think it’s a deadly disease.”
And she added, thinking of her own daughter Kinsely who was diagnosed with anorexia at 17 and is still in recovery, two years later, “We’ve been very, very lucky. I have friends whose children have died.”