Balenciaga, a high-end design house located in Paris, received outrage after releasing a pair of sweatpants for $1,190 (£860). The sweatpants, according to critics, steal from black culture, according to the BBC.
The pants include a pair of built-in boxer shorts peeping out from the waistband, emulating the famous hip-hop style.
The trousers were labelled racist by a TikTok influencer, and the post received 1.6 million views. Black cultural specialists have also expressed reservations about the trousers, according to the BBC article.
Balenciaga, on the other hand, stated it frequently integrated wardrobe components into a single outfit. Ludivine Pont, the company’s chief marketing officer, said the Trompe L’Oeil trousers were part of their integrated wardrobe components, which included “jeans layered over tracksuit pants [and] button-up shirts placed over t-shirts.”
Wearing low-slung trousers was a popular fad in the 1990s and 2000s, although certain US jurisdictions banned the practice in the 2000s.
Some states, like Louisiana’s Shreveport, have fought the statute, claiming that local cops are not “fashion police.” According to the American Civil Liberties Union, saggy pants were used as a pretext to target, search, and jail black individuals.
Mr200m, a TikTok user, shared a video showing the sweatpants on sale in London, in which someone can be heard saying: “This strikes me as really racist… The boxers have been woven into the pants.”
The sweatpants have divided social media, with some claiming that they represent double standards and others claiming that the design is not racist.
Boxers sown into pants were “a pretty popular thing in the 90s,” according to one user.
Meanwhile, CNN reported that the trousers had “cultural appropriation written all over them,” according to Marquita Gammage, an associate professor of Africana Studies at California State University.