Louis Vuitton unveiled R20,000 'Jamaican' jersey inspired by island's flag, but it has wrong colours
- Louis Vuitton released a "Jamaican Stripe Jumper" for more than R20,000 on its website.
- The sweater was inspired by the Jamaican national flag but featured the wrong colours.
- People on Twitter blasted the fashion house for being culturally insensitive.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Louis Vuitton is under fire for selling a pullover sweater inspired by Jamaica's national flag - but the expensive item featured the wrong colours.
The luxury fashion house kicked off Black History Month with a fashion gaffe that upset fans and stirred accusations that it used Jamaica's culture for profit.
Louis Vuitton's R20,000 sweater, knitted from lightweight Japanese cotton yarn, "channels the collection's Jamaican Parade theme, with a striped design inspired by the Caribbean island's national flag," according to a screenshot of the description shared by @PAM_BOY.
It featured three large stripes of green, yellow, and red. However, Jamaica's national flag is green, yellow, and black.
"I cannot stress enough how important it is to implement diversity as a value and not a symbol within fashion companies," PAM_BOY wrote.
As of Sunday, the sweater was noticeably absent from its website, and the word "Jamaica" now pulls zero results when entered into the search bar. Links to the sweater's page end with a "404 page not found" error message.
Louis Vuitton did not immediately return Insider's request for comment.
Social media commentators flamed Louis Vuitton over the mix-up
After screenshots of the sweater's product page were circulated online, commentators on social media didn't hold back in criticizing the brand for what many called carelessness.
"The flag literally pops up if you type Jamaica into your phone. How little effort can people go to and *still* not get checked or corrected!" one user wrote.
—Elly ?? Take It Up Wear It Out (@Takeitupwearit) February 2, 2021
"Louis Vuitton is selling a $1730 Jamaican Stripe Pullover, with the wrong flag, and absolutely no business using Jamaica in this way," one user said, before referencing the Men's Artistic Director for the brand, Virgil Abloh. "Also, why is it out of stock already? Someone call Virgil."
—Amanda Bartley (@bartleyamandaj) February 2, 2021
One person suggested that Louis Vuitton "donate the proceeds to the schools in Jamaica as an apology cuz this is EMBARRASSING for us."
"So no one at Louis Vuitton googled the Jamaican Flag?" another said.A few users snapped additional screenshots of the description of the sweater, which appeared to change online after the backlash unfolded. The new description claimed the design was instead inspired by "the Caribbean island's cultural heritage.""Can somebody tell @LouisVuitton this is NOT how to handle the issue? Changing the description doesn't erase the disrespect to Jamaican people and culture," one tweet said.Twitter users pointed out that the pullover appeared to draw inspiration from the Rastafarian flag, which refers to the religious movement often symbolized by green, yellow, and red.
"I also want to point out to @LouisVuitton - because they obviously don't know - that Jamaica ? Rastafari. That's very obviously the cliché they wanted to send across, and this is even more disrespectful than not caring enough to check the colors of the flag for profit," a user wrote.
—Armelle Aurelya Ferguson (@armelleferguson) February 3, 2021A small group of people, including Bob and Rita Marley's daughter, suggested the flag resembled the Ethiopian flag. "Bob says that's the Ethiopian flag @louisvuitton," wrote Cedella Marley on Instagram.
The tweets mark the most recent incident in which Louis Vuitton and other luxury fashion houses have been criticised for culturally insensitive ensembles in recent years. In 2019, Gucci was forced to apologize after people noted that its $900 sweater suggested blackface. That same year, Burberry faced backlash for presenting a hoodie that had a noose tied around the neck. Comme des Garçons received heat after Paris Fashion Week because its models donned cornrow wigs.
Receive a daily news update on your cellphone. Or get the best of our site emailed to you
Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.