Fashion label Fred Perry released one of its famous polo shirt designs after partnering with a far-right organization.
The company halted sales of the black and yellow top in the United States and Canada, after its adoption by the neo-fascist organization the Proud Boys.
In a statement posted on his website, Fred Perry said it was “incredibly frustrating” to see the polo shirt and its laurel wreath logo teaming up with the group.
The company said that while it sought to represent inclusiveness and diversity, “we have seen that the black / yellow / yellow double-breasted shirt takes on a new and very different meaning in North America because of its association with the Proud Boys. We must do our best to end this association. “
The statement continued, “To be completely clear, if you see any Proud Boys material or products featuring our laurel wreath or items related to black / yellow / yellow, they have absolutely nothing to do with us, and we work with our lawyers to prosecute any illegal use of our mark. “
Fred Perry was founded in 1952 by the Wimbledon tennis champion of the same name and has been adopted by various subcultures. In the 60s and 70s his polo shirt became associated with the skinhead movement.
But the brand has repeatedly spoken out against its use by far-right groups. “Frankly, we cannot express our disapproval in better words than our president [John Flynn] did so when interviewed in 2017, ”the label said in its statement.
“Fred was the son of a working-class socialist deputy who became a world tennis champion at a time when tennis was an elite sport. He started a business with a Jewish businessman from Eastern Europe. It’s a shame we even have to answer questions like this. No, we do not support the ideals or the group you are talking about. It goes against our beliefs and the people we work with.
The Proud Boys were created by Vice magazine co-founder Gavin McInnes in 2016, ahead of Donald Trump’s election as president. McInnes has since distanced himself from the organization, which publicly insists it is not “alt-right” or white nationalist, but has a history of glorifying violence and misogyny.
In 2018, the FBI classified the organization as an “extremist group,” while the Southern Poverty Law Center classified it as a hate group.
Over the weekend, the Proud Boys held a pro-Trump rally in Portland. Kate Brown, the governor of the state of Oregon, declared a state of emergency in anticipation of “white supremacist groups” coming from “out of town”, but far fewer people than expected turned out. presented.