STYLE

Chanel Responds To Cultural Appropriation Criticism Over It's £1,100 Boomerang

'Sportswear has always been part of Chanel’s identity.'

17/05/2017 10:31

Chanel has responded to criticism they’ve received for a boomerang design, which has prompted accusations of cultural appropriation.  

As part of the luxury fashion house’s spring/summer 2017 pre-collection, the boomerang - made from wood and black resin and priced at €1,260 (£1,100) - has received criticism on social media for it’s appropriation of Australian Aboriginal culture. 

The boomerang, which is listed on the National Museum of Australia’s website as a ‘traditional hunting tool’, was commonly used by indigenous Australians. 

People took to social media to call Chanel out on the design:

“When I think about Aboriginal culture, I think Chanel,” one wrote. 

In an official brand statement, the French fashion house told HuffPost

“Chanel is extremely committed to respecting all cultures, and deeply regrets that some may have felt offended.

“The inspiration was taken from leisure activities from other parts of the world, and it was not our intention to disrespect the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the significance of the boomerang as a cultural object.

“As such, this object was included in a sportswear range. 

“Sportswear has always been part of Chanel’s identity. Gabrielle Chanel had, before anyone else, an intuition for the sporting influence on fashion, and designed elegant and comfortable sportswear. Karl Lagerfeld has continued in the spirit of Gabrielle Chanel by regularly including sportswear and accessories in his collections.

“The spring-summer 17 collection boomerang is part of this long-standing approach. In this collection, Chanel also offers tennis rackets, a stand up paddle, beach rackets and balls.”

This isn’t the first time the French fashion house has faced criticism for cultural appropriation. In 2013 Chanel was accused of cultural appropriation of the Native American headdress when, as part of Chanel’s 94-piece pre-fall 2014 collection, Karl Lagerfeld sent models down the runway wearing headdresses and gold face paint for the brand’s Métier d’Arts show in Dallas, US.

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