Australia News & Runway

Chanel Is Under Fire for Cultural Appropriation Thanks to Its $1,325 Boomerang

The $1,325 Chanel boomerang.

Why. Image: Chanel

The past couple of years have seen the birth of several inexplicable — and inexplicably overpriced — designer objects. Recall the $2,145 Balenciaga tote that held a noted similarity to Ikea’s 99-cent Frakta bags — you know, the ones you use to carry clothes to and from the laundromat. And let’s not forget the Supreme brick, a puzzling objet d’art that originally retailed for 28 British pounds (we won’t even get into eBay pricing).

But at least those weren’t culturally appropriative. Chanel, luxury house to end all luxury houses, is now selling a $1,325 wood-and-resin boomerang. The boomerang is one of a collection of double-C emblazoned, summer-ready sporting accessories, including a pair of $3,350 beach rackets, a $1,550 tennis racket (as seen in Rankin’s fashion mockumentary) and a paddleboard whose price is available upon request. The cultish products have been available (in limited batches) for quite some time. However, the aforementioned boomerang has recently drawn the ire of the internet thanks to a (now viral) Instagram post by makeup artist/Chanel enthusiast/irresponsible shopper Jeffree Star.

Having so much fun with my new #Chanel boomerang

A post shared by Jeffree Star (@jeffreestar) on

Critics argue that Chanel, in creating the boomerang, appropriated the culture of Indigenous Australians, one of the poorest demographics in Australia. Per The Guardian, “At $1,930 [Australian dollars], it costs nearly 10 percent of the average income of Indigenous Australians.” Chanel faced similar criticism for staging its Resort 2017 show in Cuba, where the average annual income just about matches the price of one of the brand’s iconic quilted handbags. (Adding insult to injury, the outdoor runway was visible for all to see.)

Nayuka Gorrie, an Aboriginal writer and activist, took to Twitter to shame the brand.

Chanel has issued the following near-apology: “Chanel is extremely committed to respecting all cultures and deeply regrets that some may have felt offended. The inspiration was taken from leisure activities from other parts of the world, and it was not our intention to disrespect the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the significance of the boomerang as a cultural object.” That said, the offending boomerang is still available for purchase.

[ via WWD ]