Timberland cuts ties with A.P.C.
Timberland didn’t hesitate. American footwear brand has cancelled its collaboration with A.P.C., scheduled for the fall. The reason behind the decision: the name given to the men's collection presented last week by Jean Touitou, "Last Ni##@$ in Paris."
"Simply stated, this kind of language and approach is in complete contrast with our values," said Stewart Whitney, president of the American brand. "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."
The head of the French brand, which is largely inspired by hip-hop culture, attempted to clarify his remarks, according to those at the show, stressing that it was a reference to both "Ni ** as in Paris" by Kanye West and Jay Z as well as to "Last Tango in Paris" by Bertolucci. Despite the support of Kanye West and the apologies of Jean Touitou, the collaboration with Timberland seems now to have been truly finished.
Beyond the social issues involved, the case raises questions about the purview of brands in the framework of a collaboration. If Timberland hadn’t been associated with the controversy, would the negative buzz have resonated in the same way?
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