Many retail stores already reeling from the stay-at-home orders took additional hits this week due to widespread looting. Several streetwear brands responded nobly by saying their financial loss pale in comparison to the needless loss of life epitomized by the death of George Floyd and others. Other brands reacted quite differently. These are some of the very different takes on the week’s chaos.
The Hundreds posted this photo of the fiery mess taking place in front of its doors and proclaimed: “Even if you bring the fire to our doorstep, I will stand in it with you.” Lest anyone think these are just words, the brand released a collaboration with four Indigenous-owned brands last fall that included statements like “Blood, Sweat and Tear Gas” with all the profits going to Indigenous causes.
Virgil Abloh (Off-White, Louis Vuitton) criticized looters in a now-deleted post, saying, “This disgusts me. To the kids that ransacked… [the] stores in our scene just know, that product staring at you in your home/apartment right now is tainted and a reminder of a person I hope you aren’t…. Hang your head in shame.” The multi-millionaire also took heat for apparently donating a mere $50 to the protesters’ bail fund. The backlash was swift, including unfavorable changes to his wikipedia page (see below). Abloh has since apologized for his social media posts and said he actually donated $20,500 to the fund.
The mission statement for NYC-based CHNGE centers on diversity, equality and sustainability with a major portion of its profits going to charity. While others posted all black for #blackouttuesday, the streetwear company did the following: “We have decided to close our business for the next 24 hours to take time to listen, learn, reflect, and raise awareness. Upon re-opening tomorrow, we will be donating 100% of our profits from tomorrow’s sales to various Black Lives Matter organizations.” The messages on CHNGE clothing are legendary, as are their Instagram posts like this:
The Whitaker Grp is the black-owned retail company behind boutiques like Social Status, A Ma Maniére, APB and Prosper. Founder James Whitner just said this to Highsnobiety: “This is about a whole race of people that has been fucking completely ignored for 400 years. The playing field has never been equal for black people. I have had seven stores completely demolished. Total loss — and I could care less about them. The plight of black Americans is so much more important than that. You can’t insure for racism. We can insure for property damage, but if we could have insured for racism, it would probably be over by now.”
Round Two Hollywood is the premiere store for second-hand streetwear brands, and looters devastated the Melrose Avenue shop and stole everything inside. Round Two responded by saying this:
London-based THTC (The Hemp Trading Company), an eco-conscious brand that’s fully engaged in activism, posted this incredibly potent image.
The online fashion brand Dolls Kill probably likes to think it captures the streetwear mindset, but Elijah Daniel called out the brand’s owner for her Instagram that shows militarized police in front of her store and the comment “Direct Action in its glory.” As people call for a Dolls Kill boycott, her IG account has gone private, and her brand posted the following: “We fucked up. We should have been quicker + louder.”
While other stores saw their signage defaced or vandalized, Marc Jacobs’ flagship store in Los Angeles took preemptive action by crossing out its name and writing “George Floyd” and “Sandra Bland” in its place. Marc Jacobs posted an image of the new signage with the text, “A life cannot be replaced. Black Lives Matter.”