Luxury French fashion house Louis Vuitton has stirred controversy over a new menswear design that was described by the brand as being influenced by, and paying tribute to, the Jamaican national flag.
The item, which retailed for US$1,340 before being removed from Louis Vuitton’s online store, is called the ‘Jamaican Stripe Sweater’, and features three stripes in green, yellow, and red.
When the item first appeared online, the product description, according to multiple reports, read: “With striped design inspired by Caribbean island’s national flag.”
However, the Jamaican flag is green, yellow, and black.
The error was called out by Twitter user @pam_boy, in a tweet that has since been liked more than 3,200 times. While other users pointed out that it appeared to have been inspired by the Rastafarian flag, a religious movement with roots in Jamaica.
Louis Vuitton’s Jamaican stripe pullover & Jamaica’s actual flag.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to implement diversity as a value and not a symbol within fashion companies. pic.twitter.com/neg2W3uIE3
— @PAM_BOY (@pam_boy) February 2, 2021
Cedella Marley, the daughter of Bob and Rita Marley, also commented on the blunder, posting on Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
After updating the description of the jumper to remove the word “flag” and swap it with “cultural heritage”, the product was pulled from the official Vuitton website.
Clicking on the link now sees a ‘404 page not found’ error message appear.
Louis Vuitton’s creative director of menswear Virgil Abloh has previously collaborated with Jamaican born skateboarder Lucien Clarke.
But as POPSUGAR’s Nikita Charuza notes, the issue with this particular sweater is not that it was inspired by a flag or a culture, “it’s that the original product description allegedly said the sweater was modelled after the Jamaican flag, when in fact it was not”.
“This shows a lack of effort and care by a major brand during a time when inclusivity in fashion should be championed, celebrated, and top of mind,” Charuza writes.
According to the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, the colours of the Jamaican flag represent “the difficulties faced by the nation (black), its natural wealth and the beauty of its sunlight (yellow), and agriculture and hope (green)”.
In a statement to B&T, Louis Vuitton spokesperson Jade Guishard said: “We deeply regret the error in the description on our e-commerce site and we have corrected the information.
“The sweater is from the Spring-Summer 2021 Men’s Collection, throughout which green, yellow and red, the colors of the Ethiopian flag and a hallmark of African independence, were used, including to pay tribute to the Ghanaian heritage of our menswear designer Virgil Abloh.”
Note: This article has been updated to reflect commentary received from Louis Vuitton.
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