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Indie fashion brand, ‘COW’ is prized by many for their handpicked, vintage reworks and ever-so quirky stock. Now having set up stores across all major cities, including Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham, the sustainability-conscious retailer has also collaborated in recent years, with high-street giant, Topshop. This partnership allowed a variety of ranges from the retro-centred brand to be showcased within Topshop’s nationwide vendors. However, present-day events have seen COW’s store-based Instagram pages be flooded with the same image; an announcement regarding the end of their relationship with the famed, Arcadia Group merchandiser.
But rest assured, this is a good thing. Arcadia’s Chairman, Sir Philip Green, has collapsed under a number of accusations regarding sexual harassment and racist plies – resulting in a self-acquired injunction in order to detain such reports of abuse from being published. British Labour Party politician, Peter Hain, called out after Green subsequent to The Telegraph’s inability to do so. Hain exclaimed he felt it was his duty to dub in Green based on the severity of the claims against him.
Dismissing the claims as only ‘banter’, the Topshop host has deemed himself as a ‘target practice’ by accusers. Nevertheless, it must be asked whether someone who was truly innocent would be placing pressure on a press injunction to prevent further people from coming forward. Surely Green would now be attempting to profess his innocence, providing some semblance of evidence that he is not guilty. This force to hide from the media almost leaves room to assume extra assurance in terms of Green’s guilt.
The Topshop tycoon has been outed as an aggressive bully by several of his former employees, according to Evening Standard. A previous senior manager of the firm has admitted to witnessing Green’s verbal harassment, describing it as a ‘constant barrage of abuse’; something that no employee deserves to undergo at their place of occupation. Many others have volunteered their experiences, sharing that Green in fact threw things at his staff if things weren’t going as well as expected, leaving staff to feel constantly on edge and in fear.
Auna Irvine, a former manager at the flagship Topshop department in Las Vegas, is the first to accuse the billionaire. Irvine states Green, on several occasions, grabbed her by the waist, slapped her bottom, and made inappropriate comments about her breasts and weight. She consequently approached Topshop with her concerns in 2012, and in 2013 hired a lawyer to represent her. Despite her story being validated by numerous other employees, Green’s lawyers are continuing to brand Irvine as an ‘unreliable witness’, having been fired for giving clothes to her boyfriend.
Arcadia Group Ltd. is a British multinational retailing company – parent to Topshop, alongside other big names including Miss Selfridge, Burton, and Dorothy Perkins. The high street corroborator has worked to assure news outlets that all accusations are being treated seriously, with meticulous investigation being performed. Still, with Green as Chairman, it leaves room to question how far these investigative responses can be trusted. Due to his influence throughout the company, and the billions of pounds he has behind him, it is worrying to think that these factors could allow Green to get away scot-free, allowing him to continue in his life of luxury, and resuming his bully-like behaviours.
In consideration of COW’s quick pulling of stock following the allegations, I have certainly gained a huge amount of respect for the fashion-nostalgic label. It would be all too easy for them to shrug their shoulders and say that nothing has been proven. But with the #MeToo movement still a power for all sexual predators to reckon with, it’s relieving to see them not stand to be associated with someone alleged to be so vile. It’s high time these criminals were faced with the repercussions of their actions. Bullies like Green deserve nothing.
Looking to the future, I can only hope that other brands who closely affiliate with Topshop follow with bold precedent to stand in support of all Green’s victims, like COW. The message is starting to become clear: this behaviour will not be tolerated. A memo Philip Green has clearly missed.