Fred Perry axes top in N. America after far right group adopts it
Britain’s Fred Perry has withdrawn a black and yellow polo shirt from sale in the US and Canada after it became associated with a far-right organisation.
The fashion brand said the association was “incredibly frustrating” in a statement posted on its website.
The garment has been worn by many members of neo-fascist organisation Proud Boys, which has been classified as an “extremist group” by the FBI. Founded by Vice magazine co-founder Gavin McInnes in 2016, the men-only organisation has a history of promoting political violence and white supremacy.
“It is incredibly frustrating that this group has appropriated our Black/Yellow/Yellow twin tipped shirt and subverted our Laurel Wreath to their own ends,” Fred Perry said in the statement.
“The Fred Perry shirt is a piece of British subcultural uniform, adopted by various groups of people who recognise their own values in what it stands for. We are proud of its lineage and what the Laurel Wreath has represented for over 65 years: inclusivity, diversity and independence,” it continued.
“Despite its lineage, we have seen that the Black/Yellow/Yellow twin tipped shirt is taking on a new and very different meaning in North America as a result of its association with the Proud Boys. That association is something we must do our best to end,” it concluded.
The brand stopped selling the style in the US and Canada in September, and said it will not bring it back until it’s satisfied that its association with the Proud Boys has ended.
“To be absolutely clear, if you see any Proud Boys materials or products featuring our Laurel Wreath or any Black/Yellow/Yellow related items, they have absolutely nothing to do with us, and we are working with our lawyers to pursue any unlawful use of our brand,” Fred Perry said.
The British brand has been adopted by many subcultures before, including the Skinheads in the 60s and 70s, but the firm has repeatedly spoken out against the use of its polo shirt by far-right groups.
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