More than 300 people, many of whom self-identified as employees of Skechers retail stores, have signed an online petition urging the company to amend its dress code to allow for visible tattoos.
“I believe tattoos are a simple form of self-expression, and as long as they aren’t offensive or explicit, I think we should be able to show off our artwork proudly,” wrote Walter Burnie, an assistant manager at Skechers’ outlet store in Maui, Hawaii, who started the online petition. “We are supposed to be the one-stop family store for shoes, but is it wrong if they have tattoos? My tattoos are non-offensive, and I have never had a problem with any customer. In fact, I have had multiple people, including older generations, say that it is ridiculous that you force us to cover up tattoos just to work for you.”
According to Tim Newman, campaigns director for the nonprofit organization Coworker.org, Burnie’s campaign has garnered support from hundreds of Skechers employees in 27 states as well as Canada, the U.K., Australia and Chile.
In an exclusive statement to Footwear News, Marc Rooney, VP of global retail sales and operations at Skechers, said visible “non-offensive tattoos [with] no vulgar, profane or discriminatory meaning implied” are permitted for those who work in the brand’s corporate offices, showrooms and distribution center. However, retail employees who serve Skechers customers are expected to adhere to a policy that requires their tattoos to be covered.
“Skechers’ dress-code policy ensures that Skechers retail employees present a professional and fashionably relatable look that represents Skechers image as a lifestyle-and-performance brand for the entire family,” Rooney added.
That doesn’t mean the California-based brand is averse to amending the policy in the long run, the Skechers’ executive noted.
“Trends in footwear change, in keeping with the trends of fashion, art and cultural attitudes,” Rooney said. “We understand that tattoos are a means of expression and have become more socially acceptable to consumers. To address the changing trends, we review our retail dress-code policy and are currently in the process of updating it —including tattoos.”