If you’re not already following Estée Laundry on Instagram, you need to start immediately. It’s an anonymous collective of people calling out copycats, posers, cultural bandwagonism, and injustices in the beauty industry, as well as applauding those who wield their beauty power thoughtfully—like the beauty version of Diet Prada. Over the weekend, their fervor was aimed at Australian beauty mega-giant Mecca Cosmetica, for their use of the name of the holy city in their moniker.
Started by Jo Horgan in the mid-nineties, Mecca Cosmetica is sort of like an Australian Sephora, offering a beauty destination where you can shop countless prestige brands, and also take advantage of beauty experts on-hand. It also has a signature line of skincare products. The MECCA umbrella also offers Mecca Maxima, which is like the latter to an exponential degree (more brands, more products, more experts), and with a larger range of price points.
It aims to be a beauty, well, mecca. And the message isn’t lost. But that still doesn’t discount the fact that the name is a play on the city in Hejaz which was the birthplace of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, and the spiritual center of Islam where Muslims make their spiritual pilgrimage, called a hajj. In the United States we’ve come to use the name as a word to describe any place of paradise or perfection.
But according to the comments in Estée Laundry’s Insta-story—despite what the poll numbers might say—Muslim women are offended by it, and find the use of the name by the brand to be disrespectful.
But not every Muslim who weighed in was in opposition.
What do you think about the MECCA umbrella (Mecca Cosmetica and Mecca Maxima) using the name for their brand?