UPDATE: Moncler has pulled the "Malfi" jacket and shirt from its website and has released the following statement via Twitter:
Moncler & FriendsWithYou pic.twitter.com/MJtJ54HOK6— Moncler (@Moncler) July 15, 2016
Originial story below.
Another day, another heavy sigh.
Outwear label Moncler has joined the embarrassing list of companies that didn't check in with their Black friends before going full throttle with production of racially insensitive merchandise.
The cartoonish figure in question is called "Malfi" and can be seen on a jackets and shirts within the line. In addition, the collection features other cartoon-like characters in their designs -- including a smiling cloud, and an icnoic yellow smiley face -- but their "Malfi" character is the one that's definitely problematic. We've reached out to Moncler for comment and will let you know what we hear back.
In the meantime, folks have been fired up on social media regarding the new collection, shining a light on a painful history of the demeaning representation of Black people via blackface.
I'm not saying Moncler's new line is racist but.... pic.twitter.com/pJrF4WbCpX— eri (@ericabaguma) July 14, 2016
Moncler Out Here Being Racist pic.twitter.com/yLjHRQJb1K— S*T*E*V*E-O (@GFCsteveo) July 14, 2016
The Friends With You mission statement includes intentions to "affect world culture by cultivating special moments of spiritual awareness and powerful, joyous interaction" and "spread the message of connectivity around the world," so it's a wonder that this image was chosen to accomplish that.
In a time where racial tensions are high, it seems especially neglectful to produce merchandise with images that are even remotely similar to those that were used to mock Black people.
The glaring issues with using blackface and racially insentive symbolism for anything has been addressed several times in the fashion industry -- yet and still the issues keep resurfacing.
To add insult to injury, Moncler's "Malfi" jacket retails for a smooth $1,515.
And let us all say: "Seriously?"