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Pharrell’s Adidas line gets called out for cultural appropriation

Culture and fashion just don’t mix

On Friday, Mar. 2nd, Pharrell Williams and Adidas Originals pre-released their spring summer collection and footwear line. The fashion label and Williams received negative feedback on their collaboration, the Hu Holi Powder Dye. Williams and Adidas used inspirations from the country’s culture and its annual spiritual Hindu festival. However, social media users weren’t quite fond of the idea.

Photo: Instagram

Photo: Instagram

Photo: Instagram

Photo: Instagram

Adidas recently released a video of Williams’ trip to India, celebrating this year’s Holi Festival. The singer and producer revealed the concept behind the collection by captioning his trip on an Instagram post. However, this year’s festival landed on the same day Williams and Adidas released their collaboration which caused major controversy.

The brand and Williams began to receive backlash on Twitter, from fans who questioned their belief in celebrating a culture, only to perceive it as fashion. Both Williams and Adidas were accused of wearing the culture’s clothing and not considering the culture itself.

The Hindu president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, has asked Williams and Adidas to issue an apology and to adjust the collection. Along with the apology request, Zed advised that the shoes were made of cow leather, which Hindus are against as they consider the animals to be sacred. The line also consisted of vibrant powder-like tees & multi colored pieces, resembling the vivid colors seen through the festival. According to the Independent, Adidas released in a statement,

“The Adidas Originals x Pharrell Hu Holi Powder Dye collection was designed to represent a continuation of the Hu journey, reflecting Pharrell’s founding vision of energy, color and spirituality as a unifying force between peoples.”

The ‘Happy’ singer has yet to comment on the backlash. But considering his outspoken beliefs in being open-minded to all creations in fashion, his fans may agree that this was another effort in contributing to the fashion industry of history and artistry.

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