(Photo via WENN.com)
Like ugg boots and cutouts, cultural appropriation seems to be that one fashion trend that just won’t die. Last year we were forced to endure DKNY’s woefully poor rendition of FKA twigs’ baby hairs on the runway and Vogue’s trend piece on large derrieres that was at least 18 years too late. Now Jean Touitou, the French designer behind the clothing brand A.P.C., has joined the long list of fashion elite who seem to be totally clueless when it comes to issues of race and racism.
The bad news is that Touitou recently debuted a series of menswear outfits that he referred to as the “Last Ni***s In Paris” look. Touitou said that the look was “the ‘hood—meets Bertolucci’s movie Last Tango in Paris.” The good news is that Timberland, the boot company who collaborated with A.P.C. on the shoes that were part of the offensively-named outfits, swiftly pulled the plug on their relationship with A.P.C.
Thankfully Timberland found Touitou’s gratuitous use of “n***a” while describing his outfits during his launch just as ridiculous as the rest of us did.
Here’s the statement Timberland’s president Stewart Witney released on the subject:
“Yesterday we became aware of the offensive remarks made by Jean Touitou during his A.P.C. Fall Menswear show in Paris. We have chosen to immediately terminate our involvement with the A.P.C. brand, including the footwear collaboration we had planned for this fall.
Simply stated, this kind of language and approach is in complete contrast with our values. Timberland seeks to collaborate with designers and brands who are at the forefront of lifestyle trends; equally important, they must also share our values. We will not tolerate offensive language or racial slurs of any kind being associated with the Timberland brand.”
This whole ordeal has made me do my best impression of every emoji expression known to man. I’m over the moon about the speed with which Timberland disassociated themselves with this foolery. But I’m also shaking my head at Touitou, who thought this “Last Nigga In Paris” thing made sense and at rapper Kanye West (who collaborated with Jay-Z on the 2011 song N***s In Paris), who approved it. As Touitou pointed out to Style.com, he and North West’s father are besties. Reportedly, when he sent Kanye a picture of the look and its name, Kanye’s feedback was something to the tune of “I love this vibe.”
Uh, say what now Kanye?
Touitou’s idea of combining a retro European aesthetic with “hood” (his word not mine) fashion was a genius one but the framing was incredibly poor. As someone who will never have the word n****r thrown at him to demean his humanity, Touitou didn’t have the right to engage any iteration of that word or the fashion he chose to associate with it. What is beyond me is how Kanye didn’t tell his friend that. Why did he let this guy think that the “my black friend said I could” excuse was going to fly?
There are so many questions that need answering here. I don’t know about y’all but I’ve been shaking my head so much that I now have a neck cramp. I’m gonna go take an aspirin, listen to College Dropout and try to remember the days when Kanye would never have been associated with something like this.