French sports label Moncler have been forced to issue an apology for their latest collection, after receiving complaints over their apparently “racist” choice of design.
Made in conjunction with the FriendsWithYou art collective, the new logo appears to take inspiration from the face of a 19th-century golliwog doll. For those who aren’t aware, these controversial toys – known for their black skin, clown lips, and frizzy hair – are widely censured in the UK due to their offensive, racist undertones.
Moncler’s latest collection, however, seems to be reviving the design. The brand is now using (what at least looks like) the doll’s infamous white-rimmed eyes and red lips on their new collection of sweaters, t-shirts and accessories, a look that hasn’t gone down well.
The brand has since issued an apology for the misunderstanding; assuring customers that the stylised face was not actually a golliwog – but instead, a friendly penguin called Malfi. “We are so sorry for any offence caused,” Moncler said in a statement this afternoon (July 15). “Malfi the Penguin is one of a cast of characters created by artist duo FriendsWithYou whose message is first and foremost one of global friendship.”
“We are deeply troubled if the face, seen out of its context, could be associated with past or present unacceptable, racially offensive characters,” the brand added.