Adidas cancels shackle sneakers in slavery row
Top sportswear designer Adidas has cancelled sales of sneakers topped with rubber ankle chains after criticism that they evoked memories of slavery.
The so-called "shackle sneakers" equipped with orange rubber chains to be fixed above the shoes were to have gone on sale in August in the US.
But leading African American advocate Jesse Jackson has led criticism of the sneakers, saying: "The attempt to commercialise and make popular more than 200 years of human degradation, where blacks were considered three-fifths human by our constitution is offensive, appalling and insensitive. Removing the chains from our ankles and placing them on our shoes is no progress."
In a statement to AFP, Adidas said the JS Roundhouse Mid Handcuff model designed by quirky designer Jeremy Scott "has nothing to do with slavery".
"Since the shoe debuted on our Adidas Originals Facebook page ahead of its market release in August, Adidas has received both favourable and critical feedback," it said in the statement. "We apologise if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available."
Jeremy Scott has built a reputation for outrageous designs favoured by celebrities, including Eason Chan, Madonna, Rihanna, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Beth Ditto, Fergie, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Nicki Minaj, Kylie Minogue, Victoria Beckham, Lindsay Lohan, Wonder Girls and Lady Gaga.
He dressed Britney Spears as a futuristic airline stewardess for her Toxic video. He's also the first designer to dress muppet diva Miss Piggy. His clothes have included one-legged pants and fast food-inspired dresses.
Jeremy's second collection for Adidas, a line called Jeremy Scott For Adidas originals by originals, included a high-top sneaker with a wing extending from it, which became an iconic instant bestseller for Adidas.
Also working closely with the foundation for the late artist Keith Haring, Jeremy created a shoe and track suit bearing Haring's graphic art—a special project known as AdiColour, a collaborative venture with Adidas.
Published: 27th June 2012