Following A.P.C’s showing of their Timberland collaboration in Paris earlier this week, head of the A.P.C brand Jean Touitou held a sign that read “Last Ni$$@& in PARIS”. He then proceeded to speak and this is the drivel that came out of his mouth to explain the sign: “in the ghetto, it is all the Timberlands, all the big chain” He later tried to defend his comments by saying “I am friends with Kanye…When I came up with this idea, I wrote him, with the picture of the look and the name I was giving to it ad he wrote back immediately saying something like, ‘I love this vibe.’”
Timberland responded by canceling their collaboration with A.P.C and issuing a statement “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.” Bravo Timberland.
Although the US has been recently struggling with violent and racial policing, the fashion industry as usual seems to be oblivious to these issues. Paris has a history of race and religious-related conflicts, you’d think that a person like Touitou would be aware of using such a problematic statement in a public setting, plastering it on posters none the less.
This act is a disgusting approach of appropriation. Which is why Kanye’s alleged part in this stunt is sort of weird. Over the years he himself has spent time appropriating high fashion for himself, peers and fans. Making a comment on a place where his peers and himself were at a time not welcomed. His song “Ni**as In Paris” celebrates the door opening to such acts and culture. It’ll be interesting to see what the usually outspoken Kanye will have to say about this.