Despite sticking behind the design, Adidas pulled the plug on a pair of outlandish sneakers Jeremy Scott had created for them following a torrent of public outrage. The orange, purple and grey Roundouse Mid “Handcuffs” kicks were topped with orange plastic shackles, the doomed addition that ended up causing an uproar about the shoes’ alleged racist connotations.
A sneak peek of the sneakers was uploaded onto Adidas’ Facebook page with a playful tag line that read “Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?” The pic was almost immediately greeted by a wave of backlash, the comment count quickly climbing into the thousands. “Jeremy Scott is renowned as a designer whose style is quirky and lighthearted,” a spokesperson for Adidas insisted in a statement. “The design . . . is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott’s outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery.”
Scott spoke out about the design as well, tweeting in all caps “MY WORK HAS ALWAYS BEEN INSPIRED BY CARTOONS, TOYS & MY CHILDHOOD…” and linking to a picture of…My Pet Monster? So, the shoes everyone was up in arms about were actually inspired by a plush toy popular in the ‘80s? For those who aren’t familiar with him, the exceptionally colourful Mr. Monster had his own pair of orange plastic handcuffs, which makes Scott’s reference point pretty clear.
Adidas decided to pull the design from its market release date in August anyway, presumably to do some damage control. What’s your take on the Jeremy Scott x Adidas “Handcuffs” debacle? Were Adidas and Jeremy Scott not being careful enough about minimizing offence or are people simply overreacting?
Andre Harrison Jr., black rights advocate: “Today I’m withdrawing all of my support for @ITSJEREMYSCOTT, any designer that’s nostalgic for slavery will Never have my support.” [Twitter]
Reverend Jesse Jackson: “The attempt to commercialize and make popular more than 200 years of human degradation, where blacks were considered three-fifths human by our Constitution is offensive, appalling and insensitive.” [Contact Music]
Fashionista: “You know those Jeremy Scott for Adidas “slave” sneakers?? They were actually inspired by a purple cartoon monster…” [Twitter]
Randi Bergman, online editor: “Every public figure/brand needs to be aware of the semiotic message their words and wears send out, but in this case it just seems a bit blown out of proportion to connect such a cartoonish-looking shoe with something as serious as slavery. Especially when handcuffs are so often associated with everything from jail time to kinky sexual proclivities.”
Join the discussion
Neither the author nor FASHION Magazine necessarily agrees with the comments posted here. Editors will not correct spelling or grammar. FASHION Magazine reserves the right to edit or delete comments entirely.
Brand New on Fashion
- Eva Longoria vs. Rooney Mara: Who wore it best on day 3 of the Cannes Film Festival?
- Topshop has launched a music festival style collection with Kate Bosworth: See all 21 Topshop Festival items now
- Rooney Mara is the face of Calvin Klein’s newest fragrance, Downtown Calvin Klein
- Lana Del Rey’s full FASHION Magazine Cover Shoot
- Summer 2013: Table of contents