(NEW YORK) — Chanel’s latest addition to its high-fashion sports equipment line is drawing accusations of cultural appropriation. The French fashion house announced it would sell a resin-polished,
wooden boomerang embellished with the brand’s iconic double C logo for a suggested retail price of $1,325. But critics say Chanel is appropriating and disrespecting one of indigenous Australians’ oldest and most recognizable hunting tools.
Jeffree Star, a U.S.-based makeup artist, posted a photo of the Chanel boomerang on his Instagram account, and reaction online was swift.
One commenter wrote: “A boomerang is a symbolic cultural symbol to the indigenous Australians and this is disgusting, it’s being materialized.”
According to the National Museum of Australia, boomerangs have “an important role in Aboriginal culture as objects of work and leisure.” There are many different indigenous groups in Australia,
including aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.
Critics have called Chanel’s version expensive and impractical. Others have proposed that rather than buying an expensive replica, consumers should learn about the culture behind it. Many balked at
the hefty price tag.
@JeffreeStar, rather than paying $2000AUD for a Chanel Boomerang you should look into investing in one one made by an Aboriginal Australian.
— LSP (@zzoeeseymour) May 15, 2017
— Nayuka Gorrie (@NayukaGorrie) May 15, 2017
Chanel released a statement saying the brand “is extremely committed to respecting all cultures and regrets that some may have felt offended.”
The boomerang is one of five sports products available in the Spring-Summer 2017 pre-collection on the Chanel website. The collection also includes tennis balls, a wooden paddle ball set, a tennis
racket and a stand-up paddle board.
Chanel did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
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