AE follows A&F's culturally ignorant design.
May 3, 2003 1:15 AM   Subscribe

Just over a year ago, Abercrombie pulled its questionable "Chinaman" shirts from shelves, and this week American Eagle follows suit with its Ganesha chappals. You'd think the people smacking on these trendy images would learn a thing or two after the Nike Allah sneakers in the late 90's. [additional article]
posted by hobbes (14 comments total)
When will people learn.. stick to using christian imagery in flippant and irreverent ways.
posted by Wingy at 1:34 AM on May 3, 2003

These companies HAVE learned, a lot! They have learned that a little controversy gets their brand names out before a consuming public. For proof, just look at the advertising sidebar to your immediate right.
posted by mischief at 2:34 AM on May 3, 2003

Nike? Allah? I know some Arabs that would probably covet those ;) hah.. a "holy shoe"
posted by shadow45 at 5:45 AM on May 3, 2003

A couple articles of interest for anyone else who hadn't heard of the Nike/Allah issue before...
posted by whatzit at 6:53 AM on May 3, 2003

Wingy - Actually, I don't see the issue as the same as the link you posted. My understanding is that American Eagle was printing those slippers as a legit design, not specifically intending a joke. Indians often don't comment when there are Ganesha's all over T-shirts, headbands, etc. Placing your foot on a sacred image however, is one of the most serious taboos for a Hindu imaginable. It's pretty similar to spraypainting "fuck you" on a cross or image of Jesus in a church. Now, whether AE has to pay attention to Indian customs is up to them, but it does seem unpleasant to me to commercially exploit another culture's religious icon AND do it in the most insulting way possible. While people do exploit western religious icons, I doubt a major company would get far with a similar insult to Christians, Jews or Muslims.
posted by synapse at 9:40 AM on May 3, 2003

Christians have no shame.
posted by padraigin at 11:11 AM on May 3, 2003

padraigin: hilarious!

Great for fundraising, beach evangelism and mission trips!

Beach envangelism!
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:29 PM on May 3, 2003

American Hindus Against Defamation has some more images.

Printing Lord Ganesh on footwear might've been an ignorant mistake, but can the designers explain the bag (which hasn't be recalled) with the inverted Om?
posted by hobbes at 4:34 PM on May 3, 2003

The Abercrombie ones were silly retro-style and and unmarketably poorly done but not really outrageous, however one must exercise extreme caution when making footwear out of religious icons.

There are many similarities between Hunduism and Christianity, and making footwear or clothing from any of their icons is in poor taste, at best, and horribly offensive at worst.

In any case, who in the world would buy them? Someone needs to have a long chat with the marketing department manager.
posted by hama7 at 3:16 AM on May 4, 2003

Printing Lord Ganesh on footwear might've been an ignorant mistake, but can the designers explain the bag (which hasn't be recalled) with the inverted Om?

Dollars to donuts they didn't even know it's inverted. I mean, do you really expect that someone who'd stick a peanut-eating Ganesh on a handbag would know how to correctly write Om?
posted by vorfeed at 12:38 PM on May 4, 2003

This story just cracks me up, I'm sorry but I just can't take people who worship elephants seriously.
posted by MikeMc at 1:53 PM on May 4, 2003

MikeMc - you're joking, right?
posted by sid at 10:02 PM on May 4, 2003

Abercrombie has had a long string of "incidents" though. The nude "catalogue"/porn mags, the thongs for 8 year olds, their list of bad taste goes on and on. I think this and the "Allah" were dumb mistakes and both AE and Nike have apologized profusely for doing so, Abercromby simply pulled the tee shirts.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:33 AM on May 5, 2003

but can the designers explain the bag (which hasn't be recalled) with the inverted Om?

Om, is a power word used to find center during meditation, its not a symbol like a cross or Star of David even. This is more akin to writing "Amen" or "hallelujah" upside down on a bag. The image of a god being stomped on repeatedly is a whole different can of worms.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:40 AM on May 5, 2003

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