A.P.C. has been under fire since showing its AW ’15 men’s collection, where designer/founder Jean Touitou painfully name a section of the presentation, “Last Ni##@$ IN PARIS.” An attempted fusion of Parisian fashion and American street style, Touitou’s presentation was a distasteful blunder that led Timberland to cut ties today with the French label.
This particular segment didn’t at all reflect Touitou’s title—as if any particular aesthetic really could—beyond the models’ A.P.C. x Timberland collaboration boots. Touitou referred to the shoes as a “very strong ghetto signifier,” adding that, “In the ghetto, it is all the Timberlands, all the big chain.” Being that Touitou is a middle-aged Tunisian Frenchman, he’s certainly not a credible source for what goes on in the ghetto, nor is he someone who should be using, “Ni##@$,” to describe his collection.
In an attempt to justify his mistakes, Touitou referred back to his friendship with Kanye West, adding that the rapper approved of the questionable aesthetic he was aiming for.
“I am friends with Kanye, and he and I presented a joint collection at the same place, one year ago, and that this thing is only [an] homage to our friendship,” said Touitou in an interview with Style.com. “As a matter of fact, when I came up with this idea, I wrote to him, with the picture of the look and the name I was giving to it, and he wrote back immediately saying something like, ‘I love this vibe.’”
Thankfully, Timberland’s president Stewart Whitney didn’t at all, “love this vibe,” quite like Kanye, and released the following statement, today:
“Yesterday we became aware of the offensive remarks made by Jean Touitou during his A.P.C. Fall Menswear show in Paris. We have chosen to immediately terminate our involvement with the A.P.C. brand, including the footwear collaboration we had planned for this fall.
Simply stated, this kind of language and approach is in complete contrast with our values. Timberland seeks to collaborate with designers and brands who are at the forefront of lifestyle trends; equally important, they must also share our values. We will not tolerate offensive language or racial slurs of any kind being associated with the Timberland brand.”