By Amanda Dibre

Mugler partners with Aaron Rose Philip on its latest scent sparking greater representation in the perfume industry.

For years, the infamous saying “sex sells” has overpowered the fragrance industry. Notoriously, the campaigns for new scents often depict sexualized white women. Although unisex fragrances have been introduced to close the masculine and feminine divide, broader representation is still lacking. With the perfume industry sealed inside this tight box for so long, is it finally time to break free and join the rest of the world with more diverse and inclusive marketing strategies?

On May 5, Aaron Rose Philip, an American model who was the first Black, transgender, and disabled model to be represented by a major modeling agency, announced her partnership with Mugler to promote the Alien Goddess fragrance. Philip’s primary goal is to bring awareness to the lack of representation of transgender and disabled women of color within the creative industries. She has also been the face of high-profile campaigns at Moschino and Sephora. 

Philip is committed to fighting for a better tomorrow by challenging societal norms and beauty standards. She recently hosted a public skating event at Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace in New York City, with proceeds benefiting The Runway of Dreams Foundation, which seeks to empower people with disabilities through fashion. The rink was open to “wheels of all kinds.”

Last year on Oct. 13, ’21, The Fragrance Foundation—a non-profit international fragrance company started in 1949 that seeks to engage and educate consumers—launched #FragranceForwardTFF to make the fragrance industry more inclusive, not only with regard to gender but also sexual orientation, ethnicities, varying abilities, ages, and backgrounds. President of The Fragrance Foundation Linda G. Levy explained her goal is to promote an accurate representation of the world and bring about positive changes. 

In the past, perfume campaigns have sparked a great deal of controversy with the utilization of sex appeal and lust for women. Brands like Tom FordCalvin KleinUnforgivable Women by Sean Combs, and many others have had perfume advertisements banned and removed from the air due to their provocative depiction of the women in the campaigns. 

Although many brands in the fragrance industry have some catching up to do, brands like Marc Jacobs have sought to make a change. Marc Jacobs partnered with model and activist Isold Halldorudottir to launch their first body positivity perfume campaign for Marc Jacobs Perfect in 2020.

Perfume is meant to make consumers feel confident and empower them to show off their authentic selves. However, these campaigns’ lack of diversity and over-the-top sex appeal can leave consumers feeling uncomfortable and left out, almost like these scents weren’t made for them. With The Fragrance Foundation and Marc Jacobs and Mugler vowing to establish change, we can hope that this marks the beginning of a more diverse perfume industry.

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