First H&M, now ASOS. It seems like fashion brands just can’t catch a break when it comes to cultural respect. If you thought H&M’s “coolest monkey in the jungle” scheme was bad, ASOS was recently under fire for stocking a brand called Noose & Monkey, leaving the black community very disturbed.
The word “monkey” has a heavy history behind it, as it was once used as a racial slur towards people of color. So having these clothing lines constantly featured on black models, aren’t the best idea.
Noose & Monkey defends their brand’s name by claiming that it was inspired by an old folklore. According to the websites “About Us” page, the story of Noose & Monkey is about mistaken identity and disguise. The page further explains, “The brand looks at the truth and the lie, the innocent and guilty, the Noose and the Monkey. Our concept is to focus on the two sides of every story and every man, and to play with twisting those sides.”
Unfortunately, not many people are buying the folklore story. In fact, some twitter users are planning to boycott ASOS like they did with H&M.
Despite the backlash, ASOS does a pretty good job at promoting diversity on their site, as well as embracing people from all walks of life, so when the company disbanded the brand from their site, it didn’t surprise us. ASOS told several media outlets, “We are very sorry this brand name has caused offence. We have removed it from our site immediately and will work with their team to address the naming issue.”
Whether it’s a racist undertone, or a just misunderstanding, tons of fashion brands have faced backlash for racist slogans and imagery. We hope that the constant criticism will encourage them to be a little bit more sensitive to cultural affairs.