Shoppers blast Balenciaga's $1,200 sweatpants with sewn-in boxers as racist: 'they've really just gentrified sagging'

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Shoppers blast Balenciaga's $1,200 sweatpants with sewn-in boxers as racist: 'they've really just gentrified sagging'
Balenciaga “Trompe I’oeil” sweatpants in red Balenciaga
  • Balenciaga's $1200 sweatpants are being called "tremendously racist" online.
  • Sagging was popularized by Black youth - it was criminalized in some cities as recently as 2019.
  • Balenciaga's "Trompe I'oeil" pants mimic the style with plaid boxer print sewn above the hemline.

Balenciaga is the latest high-fashion brand under fire for cultural appropriation as shoppers and social-media users blast a pair of $1190 sweatpants that appear to mimic "sagging," a style originally popularized by Black youth.

One shopper posted a viral TikTok of the Balenciaga pants hanging on a store rack, which was then reposted on Twitter with the caption: "They've really just gentrified sagging." The blog Hot New Hip Hop first reported on the backlash.

"This feels very racist Balenciaga," one person says in the video as they inspect the pants. "They've woven the boxers inside the trouser."

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Sagging, a style where pants are worn low enough to reveal the boxers underneath, was outlawed in some cities as recently as 2019. In Shreveport, Louisiana, a police officer shot Anthony Childs, a 31-year-old Black man, while attempting to arrest him for breaking the "saggy pants ban." Childs died during the police chase, causing the ordinance to be later repealed.

"This actually pisses me off," one user wrote in response. "Do you know how many black men have been vilified, discriminated against, and killed for this only for it to be marketed as high fashion?"

Only four out of 69 high-fashion designers and creative directors are Black, according to a March report by The New York Times.

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Following the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, the fashion industry started to employ more Black models, stylists, and photographers, the Times reported. However, changes at the C-suite level were less responsive to public demands for diversity and inclusion.

"If it was from one of us I'd be down," another Twitter user wrote. "But Balenciaga is making coins with no Black folks getting paid."

Kering, the parent company of Balenciaga, did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

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