Colorblind designers err in branding ‘Jamaica Stripe’ sweater

Marley’s daughter pens ‘Every Little Thing’
Cedella Marley in her design studio.
Associated Press/Rolo De Campo, file

French, fashion luxury designers of Louis Vuitton merchandising erred in replicating the Pan-African colors to sell a tri-colored, $1340 sweater they branded “Jamaica Stripe.”

That the LV pullover associates the red, gold and green fashion item with Jamaica — whose colors of black, green and gold represent the island — resonated with absurdity during Black History and Reggae Month.

Soon after the fashion house introduced the chic knitted item last month, an observant Twitter noticed the merchandise and quickly assailed them citing cultural misappropriation.

The Daily Beast picked up the story followed by BET Style.

According to BET, “whether it was a case of good intentions gone wrong or something far more malicious, there is no question that this advertisement is cringe-worthy and displayed a blatant lack of research.”

The headlined of their damning article read “A Fail: Louis Vuitton Designs A Sweater ‘Inspired’ By The Jamaican Flag, And the Colors Are Completely Wrong.”

The writers did not mince words, they said the fashion company had completely missed the mark. The story enlightened fashionistas, reggae music fans, Jamaicans and readers who said they were in disbelief that the European outlet was ‘inspired by the Caribbean island’s national flag.’

“Understandably we are speechless, primarily since this so-called tribute does not feature the same colors as the Jamaican flag,” the BET writers noted.

In fact, the colors represent Ethiopia and Pan-African nations that adopted the colors in tribute to the African nation that eluded slavery.

History records that Ethiopia fended off Italian invaders whose quest was to colonize the African nation.

It may seem funny that LV could have been as clueless as it seems but it was no joke to fashion designer Cedella Marley whose Jamaica-born father’s 76th birthday anniversary coincided with the launch.

During the Feb. 6 celebratory week the eldest daughter of Bob and Rita Marley resorted to Instagram to inform LV of their error. She used a photo of her legendary father to illustrate how the Rastafarian attributed to popularizing the red, gold and green fashion trend.

She juxtaposed a photo of the reggae singer wearing a track suit in a picture posted against a contrasting banner of the island nations distinct colors.

Marley wore tracks-suits, sweaters, caps often embellished by the red, gold and green colors.

Allegedly the Rastafarian, reggae, singer who died in 1981, wore them as a homage to Ethiopia, the sacred birthplace of his spiritual leader Emperor Haile Selassie I.

Marley’s fans adopted the style cue claiming it for both the music and the mantra associated with a lifestyle reflective of natural and organic vitality.

In her own right, the firstborn daughter of the king of reggae is renowned in the fashion industry for her Catch A Fire designs.

The brand became all the rage throughout the industry and in high end stores such as Nordstroms, Saks etc when she created colorful outfits in both the Pan-African and black, gold and green colors of her native Jamaica.

As a matter of fact, Jamaica commissioned her collaboration with Puma to outfit the island’s Olympic team in 2012 when they competed in London, England.

In addition to Marley’s poignant post, numerous commenters sided with her to denounce LV for not doing their homework.

Some cited that reparations should be paid to Jamaica, Rastafarians, Africans and probably other Caribbean islands besmirched by the color-blinded strategy.

African nations represented by the color include: Senegal, Rwanda, Republic of the Congo, Mali, Benin, Guinea, Burkino Faso and Ghana and others as well as Guyana, St. Kitts & Nevis, Grenada in the Caribbean.

Since the controversy went viral on social media, LV has pulled the expensive, 49 percent polyester product from their web portal.

If only the wizards at LV had named the eye-catching top “Rasta Stripe” maybe some of the uproar about intellectual property etc could have been averted.

But two swipes against the tri-colored “Jamaica Stripe” proved one too many for nationals to tolerate.

In order to fully comprehend the Black History/Reggae Month faux pas instead of reaching for the “Jamaica Stripe” pullover more than a few — even some non-beer drinkers — claim they may have to reach for a cold Red Stripe.

Catch You On The Inside!

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