Update: December 18, 2018 6:56 p.m. EST:
Forever 21 has responded to the criticism the sweatshirt and model have received.
“Forever 21 takes feedback on our products and marketing extremely seriously. We celebrate all superheroes with many different models of various ethnicities and apologize if the photo in question was offensive in any way.”
Ever since the release of Black Panther, the merchandising and branding have been off the hook. From bobblehead figures and action toys, not only has Black Panther proved to be lucrative with its box office numbers, but the merchandise is still being bought and sold everywhere. But not all merchandise is created equal or even marketed correctly.
And it looks like Forever 21 is learning this the hard way.
On Tuesday afternoon, the fashion site tweeted a photo with a link to purchase a Wakanda Forever Fair Isle Sweater. But they picked the fairest model they could find:
Needless to say, social media came for their head:
— pronounced &réa. 👩🏾🦲☃️ (@rhythmgoddesss) December 18, 2018
Where did Forever 21 find this model? Al Bino’s Lilywhite Modeling Agency and Bleach Shop? https://t.co/xcTqflpWAR
— Rob Heiret (@Rheiret) December 18, 2018
looks like a Ken doll with a soundcloud account
— Eric Bailey (@EricVBailey) December 18, 2018
— Wheelchair Jerry (@BostonJerry) December 18, 2018
Forever 21 knows exactly what they're doing with that ghost in the shell man in the african kitty sweater and here ya'll go given them the attention they want
— cultured butter bae (@jilleeann_) December 18, 2018
Not only is the sweater kind of hideous, and could win an ugly sweater contest easily, but would it have been too much to ask to feature a Black model wearing the sweater? Forever 21’s site alleges the sweater is an officially licensed Marvel product, but can one even be too sure about that?
Needless to say, the tweet was deleted within minutes. Wakanda forever, y’all.