American Marketer


British retail remembers Suffragettes movement 100 years on

February 6, 2018

Fortnum & Mason gifted hampers to imprisoned Suffragettes in 1911. Image credit: Fortnum & Mason


London department store Fortnum & Mason is among the brands recalling its own history to celebrate the centennial anniversary of British women being granted the right to vote.

Fortnum & Mason is joined by fellow British retailer Selfridges and fashion house Stella McCartney in acknowledging the anniversary of the Suffragettes’ movement on its social channels. With women’s causes and the #MeToo movement in the news, brands have been vocal in their support of social justice and female empowerment.

On Fortnum & Mason’s social channels, the retailer shared that in 1911 the Suffragettes smashed the department store’s windows. When the women were put in jail, Fortnum & Mason voiced its support by sending its hampers to the imprisoned Suffragettes.

Given the enduring popularity of Fortnum & Mason’s hampers, the retailer included a link to the category page on its Web site for consumers to browse. Connecting past and present is a common method used to tout a brand’s long-held positioning.

On Selfridges’ social accounts, the retailer connected the Suffragettes movement to the opinions of its founder, Harry Gordon, an avid supporter of women’s rights.

Noting that it has supported women dating back to 1909, Selfridges shared that during the Suffragettes' movement, Mr. Gordon created in-store restaurants where female consumers could dine unchaperoned, a progressive concept for the time.

Stella McCartney shared her appreciation for the women who came before her that fought for equality in the U.K. and around the world.

Luxury brands are in the business of selling dreams and aspirations, but should they also be responsible for standing up for societal issues?

During “The Politics of Luxury” session at The New York Times’ International Luxury Conference Nov. 13, panelists from three luxury houses discussed if it is best for a brand to remain neutral on hot-button issues. While it may be easier to not take a public stance on or against certain issues, millennials’ consciousness is likely to cause brands to make their position known or risk losing a key demographic’s business (see story).