J. Crew surprised consumers again with a May 2011 catalog that features its employees as models, including a gay designer with his boyfriend, who are described as “Happy Together.”
The preppie clothing giant was quiet on its presentation of the same-sex couple — “Our designer Somsack and his boyfriend, Micah” — but gay advocates applaud what they say is a strong message.
“Nothing is unintentional in this kind of marketing,” said Cathy Renna of Renna Communications, which serves the LGBT community. “Bravo to J. Crew.”
“It’s a giant step forward,” she said. “As an activist, it’s great to see a diversity of images and to see gay families represented in more regular media.”
Just last month, J. Crew stirred controversy when its online newsletter included an image of its president and creative director Jenna Lyonspainting her son’s toenails hot pink.
“Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink,” said the caption. “Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”
Social conservatives reacted with outrage at what they considered “liberal, transgendered identity politics.” Some critics suggested that her son Beckett might be “turned” gay or transgender.
“The Men’s Shop” section in the back of the 135-page catalog includes J. Crew’s in-house stylist with his 9-month-old son, bearded brothers, a designer with his dog and also the photographer’s African-American husband and their Asian daughter, headlined as “Family Matters.”