Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Tommy Hilfiger - Racist. SO WHAT?!

Tommy Hilfiger. WOW. What amazing clothing. Lovely designs, fine craftsmanship and one HUGE price tag. But it’s worth it. The clothes fit perfectly, feel snug and cozy, and are hardy. Given the chance, (and the money) I’d definitely want to fill my wardrobe with this brand.
But the guy is racist. He believed that blacks shouldn’t wear his clothes. He believed that only the pure were fit to wear his range of haute couture. Should the guy (and hence, the brand) be boycotted? Should we stop buying his clothes? Should we hold a strike to show our feelings and inclinations away from (or towards) his mindset?
I have nothing against blacks. I am not some prejudiced freak. I know everyone has the same rights and should be treated similarly. I know that people shouldn’t discriminate. I know that everyone has varied opinions, and that they should have the sense to reserve some of them for themselves.
So should I stop buying his clothing in order to passively refuse to promote his brand? Does that make any sense? He does, after all, make very good clothes, clothes that I like, that I would be proud to own, clothes that I adore. Why should I stop buying? Why should I have anything against him? It’s his opinion, isn’t it? Why should I stop him from thinking what he does? It’s not like I promote some conspiracy to give blacks some sort of bar to buying his clothes, right? He isn’t doing anything actively to diss them, is he? I don’t think that by buying his brand and boosting his ego (as one of my friends has testily suggested) we are in any way promoting his hatred (?) of the blacks. Are we?
What say you?

33 comments:

Roopa said...

http://www.breakthechain.org/exclusives/hilfiger.html


hmmm i think its a rumor... that makes no sense... if he was a white supremist, then why...why wud he open a store in bangalore of all places... 3rd world oops i mean developing et al!!!

Meghna said...

Ok...I dont think the issue is whether this is a rumor or not anymore!
HOW can you support someone who would make a comment like that? (I realise that this is now hypothetical...since he actually may have not made this statement) But if he did...you wouldn't boycott him?! Where are your principles?!
This guy - however wonderfully fitting and comfortable his clothing is - is a racist! You don't bring your product on a public forum, if you want to control the people who buy it.

Yes, it is his opinion, but being at a palce where he is - under public eye - comes with certain responsibilities. His opinions reach more people than ours. If YOU made a statement like that, nothing would really happen. We would all think very little of you...but no one would sue you! A person like Tommy Hilfiger however, needs to politically correct...seeing what he stands for. Having opinions is fine, but expressing them for everyone to hear isn't.

"He does, after all, make very good clothes, clothes that I like, that I would be proud to own..."
I can't believe you'd be proud to own clothes made by someone who stands for racism! Yes...by buying his clothes you are supporting him!
By making a statement like that...he is implying that anyone who is not white isn't worthy of good clothing!
Tomorrow...an indian designer will say that about a certain sections of Indians! Will that strike your chord harder?!
I for one, will NOT support anyone who thinks that non-whites have to continually aplogise for themselves! Screw Hilfiger...there are other brands that are equally amazing!

Aveek said...

Hmmm... notice that proud to own was not in support of him, but the status (? i dont think i got the right word...) it brings with it. a level of taste maybe?(still not got the word).
does it really matter what he says? he doesn't do anything bout it. by buying his clothes, I dont think we are supporting him. It just means that its a very good brand. And he's not saying non-whites. He's saying Blacks. He has thus far not said anything bout anyone else.
Politically correct or not, he can say what he wants. I don't see why not buying his clothes will help. OK, maybe if we hold some sort of meeting, or some public event. But what is wrong with buying good clothes...?! Its not like he'll go broke anyways. The guys so rich he (not to mention his entire extended family and coming generations) could just live of the interests in his fortune - very comfortably. Boycotting the not the answer, thats for sure. Maybe try something else. Meanwhile, whats the point of denying yourself the pleasure of wearing excellent clothing??
Did you visit the link? (thanks Roopa!) What do you think?

Meghna said...

Tommy Hilfiger clothing as a status symbol? (was that the word/phrase you were looking for?) That's pathetic...that you would buy clothes from him for a label and the implications that label carries.

Yes he hasn't said anything about anyone other than blacks...but when someone does, will that be acceptable? You are buying clothes from someone who thinks blacks aren't good enough for his clothes...

Answer a question for me: However amazing his clothing is...he is still passing racist judgemental statements. But as long as they are not against you...it's ok?

Meghna said...

Ah...the site! Yea...oddly enough...I agree with you on one thing...that Regina is blowing it a BIT out of proprtion. I understand her anger and support it, but if people are saying that he made no such statement, she could back off a bit, keeping her opinions!

Though I'm wondering, cound this 'chain breaker' be an employee trying to clean up a mess??

Snebert said...

well...im against racist ppl as well....but im frankly with Aveek here. If the guy is racist, u can hate him, badmouth him, give him bad publicity and everything, but that doesnt change the fact that his clothing is good. U rnt necessarily supporting his beliefs if u buy his clothing... ur simply buying his product. Its his business ur dealing with, and i would think thats removed from what the designer's opinions are. When u buy clothing from anywhere, let alone tommy hilfiger, would u worry abt whether the designer was racist, or gay, or a paedophile? I wouldnt. I buy clothes cos they r good clothes, irrespective of what they r made of.

When u pay tommy hilfiger, ur paying him for his crafts...not for his beliefs...

-Sneha

Meghna said...

The way see it, Tommy Hilfiger is not the only good designer in the world. There are other designers who are of equal quality and comfort levels.
So, given that this guy is a racist – and presumably goes against something that you believe – why would you buy his clothes? Aren’t you losing just an ounce of pride by doing it? “Ok…you think that some people aren’t good enough for you clothes…but I will still buy your product, because I think its good. Even though you think that I may not be good enough for it”
It’s not like he is the only good designer. So if one can wear good clothes, be comfortable and yet maintain our pride and principles…why not? Wear a different designers clothes!

Aveek said...

Thanks for the support sneha... people believe in things - ideals, morals, and brand loyalty. I want to wear Hilfiger, because his Size 30 fits me perfectly. Not Pepe, not Chanel, not anyone else. Tommy Hilfiger. As Sneha Said, we deal with his business, not his ego, his opinions, not his creed. Unless he starts adding tags on his clothing like "proudly worn by White men and women across the world" or some other 'patriotic' (at least in this sense) slogan which directly reflects his opinion from his clothing, it doesn't matter.

Meghna said...

wow...brand loyalty.
Whatever you say, things are not that simple. You are not dealing only with his buisiness. No product is that free.
Tell me this: Now, when you hear the name Tommy Hilfiger, isn't this alleged statement one of the first things you think about? Nothing stands on its own anymore. You canNOT buy only his product. You can't.
This whole 'status' thing you were talking about? Well...for non-racists, Tommy Hilfiger has lost it. His name - his brand - is now tagged with opinion. You cannot get away from the nuances his product carries with him.
Now if that's ok with you...

Noldo said...

Meghna, I don't really think 'nuances' was the word you were looking for. A 'nuance' is a little detail, not something that metaphorically 'hovers' around the brand-name. How about 'stigma' (sorry, best synonym I can come up with at the moment)?

[/linguistic geek mode]

That said...Tommy Hilfiger. Now, with all due politeness and what-not, Aveek, I don't agree with you on this one.
If what I've heard about his controversial 'statement' is correct, he thinks that whites and only whites ought to wear his stuff.
You say that you have nothing against blacks? Well, consider this - most people consider Indians to be, at best, about half a millimetre above blacks on the scales of people to be racist towards. Some even consider Indians positively verminous. How can you believe that Tommy Hilfiger is okay with Indians but not with blacks? Think of it like this - he probably would lump you into the category of 'impure' as well. Believe me, you'd understand it if you'd been called a 'bloody Paki', shoved around the playground at recess, and had your lunch-money stolen.
Blacks, Indians, Chinese - everyone's the same to racist types.
Do you really want to buy from someone who, if what he says is to be believed, would very happily see you and all your kin wiped off the face of this planet?

I know I wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

"Tommy Hilfiger clothing as a status symbol? (was that the word/phrase you were looking for?) That's pathetic...that you would buy clothes from him for a label and the implications that label carries."

meghna i quote you above.
dont you know know that EVERYTHING aveek does is for status/style/showing off/brand value?
i didnt expect you to miss that and actually ask that question. (well it could have been rhetoric, but hey...)

[/fuel fire]

nice to see some real discussion on this blog, and in the mean time, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR! cheers, i got to go and pick up some Hilfiger clothes for my wardrobe... :)
(hey if his clothes are good enough for Michael Schumacher, theyre good enough for me! and yes sneha, when we met today, the clothes i was wearing WERE tommy hilfiger (ferrari, anyone) )

Well, SUE ME!

arjun

Aveek said...

Arjun,
BITE ME.

Aveek said...

Meghna,
What makes you say his brand comes with a Stigma(yes, that sounds appropriate)?
When you say Hilfiger, the first thing that comes to your mind is craftmanship and quality. Who says nothing stands on its own anymore?
Take reliance - there's total turmoil inside, but it is still doing amazingly. To many, the opinions of the 2 brothers matter infinetly much. did that stop the products from being of exeptional quality? did that mean that you were supporting both Anil and Mukheshs opinions? NO. I don't think you could care less about who or what runs the company - as long as you get your services from them. Who cares what happens as long as VSNL ensures that you're at ease with your connection? Who cares Bata says that all silkworms should be fed to everyone instead of snails? So waht if you think its a seperate issue? Its all the same to me. Will you stop buying their shoes?

Deepthi,
You have a point there. Give me some time... I'll get back to you on that one...

Arjun,
again, BITE ME you f**king little hypocrite.
Why dont you use schumachers condoms too? and lick his feet every morning? and shine his ass for him after he goes for a sh*t??
For some reason, you remind me of Vikram - really, I think thats bout the single worst influece in your life... really, dont tell me you didn't hate his guts... or were you too busy tryiong to be 'cool' and do what most everyone else did - hang out with that psycho dumass (aspiring) dropout failure? that really disgusts me...

Nanz...? What happened to you? Just when this one gets all heated up you diseapear...!!

my said...

nice posts!
I always wanted to know how the everyday life in India is like, could you post something like that, thanks!

Meghna said...

Deepthi - Hey no! Stigma was not what i meant...I think it was more on the lines of an implication. Stigma is too negative.
I do agree with you though, but I decided not to bring that up, thinking that the issue was racism against ANYONE. Why would it be harder to accept if it was aginst us per se?

Aveek - Hilfiger's clothes do come with an implication. And all non-racists know Hilfiger as a racist. You cannot possibly think that a product can stand solely on merit. This world looks for things that are wrong... and when it finds something, blows it up.
As for reliance and bata...(DUH I would stop buying their shoes!!)...you are comparing reliance and BATA to Tommy Hilfliger?? Don't you see something wrong with that comparison?! In any case, Anil and Mukesh Ambani are only guilty of acting like idiots. They are not making controversial statements. Neither brother is calling the other a 'nigger' on the Oprah Winfrey show. See the difference??
(....and relax!!)

Arjun - If you don't actually have an opinion...don't talk. How come you only post comments when its to diss someone? Don't you ever actually have anything to say? "If it's good enough for Schumacher...its good enough for me!" Yeesh...

Karass said...

The man and the clothing line are not separable. If Hitler designed good clothing, would you buy it and pump money into his bank so that he could use it against the Jews? How can you support a person who is a racist? I find it weakness to continue to buy his clothing because you cannot give it up for a principle. If he killed your mother but still made good clothing, will you still say "hate the man, but buy the clothes?" I know these are extreme cases, but where do you draw the line. If not at racism, how much worse of a belief must he hold before you boycott him? What if he were an African American who was against white people, would you still buy his clothing? Arguing that the man and the clothing are separable is a weak argument at best.

Besides, I personally believe his clothing is ghetto and it's not really "couture".

Aveek said...

Jin, again, valid stance, but I do draw the line somewhere else. I dunno where, but I do.
Meghna - in this increasingly liberal world, everything can stand on its own. If worst comes to worst, the board members will boycott Tommy, but the brand will go on. There's too much at stake to let the brand image get tarnished. So, in effect, we DO deal seperately with him and his clothes. As for Reliance and Bata, they all boil down to the same context, Anil and Muksheh haven't got there yet, but will soon start critisizing each others choices, decisions, and personal items. It will end up becoming a side versus side battle, and if ur into it, you'll choose one side. But, if you got, say a cell phone, you wont care less, as long as you get coverage (and absolutley rock-bottom bills!!!)



P.S. We all do know that this I ALL JUST A DEFAMATION CONSPIRACY, AND IS NOT THE TRUTH, right?

Meghna said...

Yes, I think people are forgetting that no one actually knows for sure that he MADE this alleged statement...

This is kind of becoming a round about debate...
A product can stand on its own...no it can't...yes it can...no it can't. This is kind of pointless.
No matter how liberal this world is, you can't force people to swallow their opinions. If you are buying Hilfiger clothes for status, then you are going to have one tagged with the connotations of his alleged statment! That's all there is to it...it is a fact.

And there is no stake in losing the brand. The only one who has anything at stake is Hilfiger himself. No one is going to die if his brand dissapears because people with principles have boycotted him! The only one with anything at stake is Mr. Hilfiger himself. And if he has opinions like that...and considers it acceptable to make such statements on live television, then who gives?!

Anonymous said...

umm i was just trying to demonstrate the point that i dont care about the PERSON, i view it as a different entity to the clothing line, in support of aveek.
if youre brain is too numb to catch the point, well go unfreeze it somewhere...

Snebert said...

NEWS REPORT
i know this is coming a little late, but TH was grossly misquoted. I dont know if everyone knows this already, but what he meant was that the clothes he designs arent designed with a black persons physique in mind. he didnt mean anything against people of african origin, he simply says that the model he uses for designing his clothes was the frame of a white person. It wasnt racism, it was simply a convention thats used. The media obviously has tendency to warp certain aspects...
-Sneha

Aveek said...

I'm not too sure everyone knows that one eiher. TH did say exactly that, and nothing else. Sneha's right. The medi just want something to feed on. All this is just very blown outta proportion. So here are the facts:
1. He DID NOT say anything (racist or otherwise)on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
2. He DID say that his clothes were designed not on the African-American/African/(Any other that I've forgotten) (if I say Black, you guys will kill me)physique, but on the Caucasian build.
3. It is his base of work, his platform. It is not a comment on anyone. It is his preferred mode of display, his preffered hangar.
It is like your clothes. Somethings (you think) look good on jeans, some don't. Lets say that you like the clothes that don't look good on jeans. Its our choice. So you dont wear jeans. That doesn't mean you're commenting on people wearing jeans. It means you think you look good in something else. Thats all.
In the end, I'm still gonna wear my Hilfigeers - I think I look good in them.

Meghna said...

I thought everyone knew that this was a hypothetical conversation?!
Now come to think of it...if this was being disussed as one...yeesh! Dumb conversation! Anyway, in the end...if he had made such a statement; I would boycott him.

I suppose this is the end of this debate folks!

Jabda! said...

Boy, oh boy, oh boy! Talk about completely missing the point! i'm not getting into the argument about whether the man actually said anything that was racist or not .... but i love your optimisn! You think 'blacks' are people from that large land mass called 'Africa'? Well, my dear Aveek, you've got another think coming .... You, my dear friend ... are NOT white .... and are therefore part of the victims of this racial insult! Nobody gives a shit if you're from India or from a Draividian race that's unparalleled in glory and honour in all of history or that you live in alternate Silicon Valley. Basically, if rumour is to be believed .... (about Mr Hilfiger being racist) ... he doesn't want you wearing his clothes. YOU! get it?

then again, apparently he's opened an outlet in your fine city! It's not 'So what?!' anymore about Tommy Hilfiger .... it's more like .... "Mommy, mommy, Tommy won't be friends with me. But I still want to look cool about this, so I'll post a blog!"

Do you really have an opinion about anything .... I mean a well-informed opinion .... or do you think a blog is just the coolest thing to have coz all your friends have one and most Americans do too! You seem to hate their morals and ethics, but my most-well-informed friend ... trust me, if you're looking for a country rooted in its values and beliefs, morels and ethics, distaste for sleaze and a love of God, you should probably pay the United States of America a visit! Then again, if they reject your shitty visa, you might call the whole country racist ... not knowing that your visa officer was probably African-American!

Give it up, man! If you wanna write shit that actually makes sense, use the web! Otherwise, stick to the little pink Diary that you have hidden away under the lace covers, under the cuddly teddy bears, under the paper valentine hearts from 8 years ago. under the cool skateboard, under all your pretentions!

All the best in life, when you get your ass-kicked by people who know what they're taking about while you're stuck in a surgical procedure that involves taking your head out of your ass while removing your foot from your mouth!

Aveek said...

Jabda... you do have a few valid points there, which, admitted, I never quite saw...
None-the-less, you seem most concerned about my face in my ass and foot in my mouth. I assure you that I have managed to survive, quite happily, for some time with this condition.
As for using the web, my most well informed friend, where do you suppose you are while reading this...?
And my little pink diary and cudddly bears and lace an paper valentine hearts might just indicate that I have a life, that I have something to write about. Which gives you something to write about.
Blogs are not meant to be there to increase your coolness-quotient, in whcih case you'd probably need a thousand odd blogs to make up for your lack of a life. Peopple do actually have something to say, and sometimes, just sometimes, would like to share it with other people. I couldn't give a damn who else has a blog, be it an American, or a Egyptian, or an Iraqi, or a Russian. You, however seem most perturbed that the real value of a Blog may be spoilt by the non-American beings of this planet.

Mommy,mommy Tommy wont be friends with me, so I'll post a blog about this!!
Mommy mommy, Jabda is an asshole, so I'll post a blog about this!!
Mommy mommy, the Americans have blogs and skateboards, and their diet happens to be Burger-King and Beer so lets all have it and post a blog about it!!

You wish. Get a life (and maybe a skate-board, or anything else that'll identify you with the Americans so that you can be 'cool' and in with it). After all, so rooted are the americans that most don't know what their national bird is, how many States there are in thier proud and prosperous U.S. of A., and they think that any country this side of Europe still doesn't understand the concept of electricity. there's your rooted, ethical, well-informed American. Won't you go up and say hi to hi/her? But of course you will, anything to be near the Americans, to be part of the 'Greatest Super-power of the World'. They can add, subtract, multiply and divide 10-digit figures in seconds, using their nimble fingers on the great calculator, but have difficulty trying to do their childrens math work... hmmm... oh, and how can we forget, sleeping with everyone and thier cousins while secretly married to your best-friends ex is completely ethical and moral. But of course. If its done in the USA, then it MUST be ethical. Cheating on everyone s the most ethical thing that I can think of too.
Could someone care to name one value that people are rooted to in the States...? Please? Just one... Though I gotta give the nexty one to ya... they'll believe anything.

Anonymous said...

ok guys seriously screw the guy :) loool its not like hez the only guy who sells clothes in this world...ok so mayb he has good stuff..but still who would wanna buy clothes for some1 so pathetic...its like a person is cussing u and yet u pay em i mean wth!

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Anonymous said...

im surprised when i hear ppl say, "yeah hes a racist, he can be watever he wants to, we dont encourage him, we're just buying his products". hellllooooooooo, he is associating racism with his clothes, he says blacks arent worthy of my CLOTHING. what bloody status does it give u, u just confirming that u r a racist too. " he dint say non whites, he just said blacks" yr statement just says that u also look at blacks as someone of low birth.dont be so dumb ppl.

Anonymous said...

I think tommy is one of the down right stupid person that has walk on this planet ,just the same way i feel about the dumb AVEEK his greatest fan.i tell u what aveek cowski you and mr tommy have just invited the anger of the spirit of africa on you and your entire family for promoting race hate and it will never be well with you 2.amen.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of designers and business owners that are racist. Just because they don't say something out loud doesn't mean they are not. Is everyone going to find out if a company has racist people working for them in order to buy things from them? Probably not.

Anonymous said...

This is America and the people have a right to say what ever they want to, even if it is wrong and hateful.

vasu said...

TOday morning i recieved a mail with a Statements like"..."If I'd known African-Americans, Hispanics, Jewish,
INDIAN
and Asians would buy my clothes, I WOULD NOT have made them so nice. I
wish these people would *NOT* buy my clothes, as they are made for
upper
class white people."
this was made by Tommy Hilfiger if the statement is true his name, brand, shirts in india should be kicked out from India....

prince said...

hay dude above me...
i've read the same mail that u posted bt the one i got, it was clearly written in the end of it that "this statement is a rumor"
so i don't think that the act u tolt to "throw all tommy shirts out of india" is worth .....
'coz i think anyone should get the detailed info b4 saying suck kinna things abt others...
don't mind that nt itz jsta sugesstion....

Once09 said...

This is an urban legend; a hoax. Hilfiger never said anything like this. Oprah had him on the show to confirm that it was all a big lie. You can't believe everything you read on the internet.

http://www.hoax-slayer.com/tommy-hilfiger-rumour.html

http://www.snopes.com/racial/business/hilfiger.asp

http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/tommyhilfiger/a/tommy_hilfiger.htm