In a sad attempt to capitalize off West Indian culture, Louis Vuitton’s “Jamaican Stripe” pullover sweater has become the latest luxury item to miss the mark. The red, yellow, and green striped top made from Japanese cotton yarn, is said to be “inspired by the Caribbean island’s national flag.” That’s cool and all, but the Jamaican flag is green, yellow, and black, not green, yellow, and red.
The snafu was first noticed by Twitter user @Pam_Boy. In a tweet he wrote, “Louis Vuitton’s Jamaican stripe pullover & Jamaica’s actual flag. I cannot stress enough how important it is to implement diversity as a value and not a symbol within fashion companies.”
The menswear sweater, which retails for $1,340, has been pulled from the brand’s website. It’s shocking that this pullover made it through a designing, production, and marketing phase without any research. A strong diversity team would’ve acknowledged that this design doesn’t represent the Jamaican flag, causing the brand’s team to go back to the drawing board.
Luxury brands are constantly making headlines because of their ignorance to various cultures. Remember Gucci’s black face balaclava-style sweater that hit the runway as part of its fall 2018 ready-to-wear collection? Later that year the brand added a turban head wrap to their collection that was insensitive to the Sikh culture. What about Burberry’s FW19 show where a model was seen wearing a sweater with what appeared to be a noose around the neck. And who could forget the Prada keychain that resembled blackface?
It is very clear that these brands lack a strong diversity team that can provide clarity around appropriate design ideas. Considering the creative director for Louis Vuitton menswear is Virgil Abloh, you’d think he’s know the difference between the Jamaican flag colors and typical West Indian colors. What do you think? Did Louis Vuitton miss the mark with this design?