Fred Perry bans iconic polo shirt after racist far-right group adopts it
Fred Perry will no longer sell its iconic black and yellow polo shirt in some areas after it was adopted by a far-right group as its unofficial uniform.
The fashion brand has also issued a damning statement condemning Proud Boys.
The Fred Perry statement said it was "incredibly frustrating" that the hard-right group had adopted its black and yellow shirt – and announced that the shirt would no longer be available for sale in North America and Canada.
The company actually stopped producing the shirt in the US September 2019 and has said it would not be selling the item there again "until we're satisfied that its association with the Proud Boys has ended".
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"To be absolutely clear," the statement read, "if you see any Proud Boys materials or products featuring our Laurel Wreath or any Black/Yellow/Yellow related items, they have absolutely nothing to do with us, and we are working with our lawyers to pursue any unlawful use of our brand," the company said in a statement on its website.
The company said that against its brand philosophy “we have seen that the black/yellow/yellow twin tipped shirt is taking on a new and very different meaning in North America as a result of its association with the Proud Boys.
"That association is something we must do our best to end.”
The Proud Boys is a neo-fascist sect with with ties to white nationalist militias.
The violently pro-Trump group was reportedly started as a joke by journalist Gavin McInnes but self-styled Proud Boys clad in the distinctive black-and-yellow shorts have been responsible for violent racist attacks – often opposing Black Lives Matter Demonstrators – across America.
The group is also firmly anti-feminist and opposes women’s rights. Its members maintain that women are innately "lazy" and "less ambitious" than men.
British tennis champion Fred Perry launched his iconic polo short in the early 1950s. It became associated with the Mod subculture in the Sixties and as that decade came to an end was carried with them into the Skinhead and Suedehead styles.
While Skinheads weren’t originally a racist group, as the Seventies wore on a subculture of it became increasingly associated with hard-right parties such as the National Front and the British National Party.
Fred Perry chairman John Flynn said the Proud Boys and similar groups were "counter to our beliefs and the people we work with".
"Fred was the son of a working-class socialist MP who became a world tennis champion at a time when tennis was an elitist sport,” he added.
“He started a business with a Jewish businessman from Eastern Europe," he said.
"It's a shame we even have to answer questions like this. No, we don't support the ideals or the group that you speak of."
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