H&M is the latest retailer to ruffle feathers—only this time, it’s literal.
On Friday, the fashion chain pulled Native American-inspired faux feather headdresses from its Canadian stores after customers complained that the hair accessories were offensive to aboriginals.
The Swedish-based retailer received three complaints before deciding to remove the headdresses from the market. One of those came from Kim Wheeler, 44, an Ojibwa-Mohawk from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who saw the headdresses while shopping with her daughter in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“They’re worn by chiefs. They’re a sign of honor and respect and leadership. They’re not a cute accessory to be worn in a nightclub,” Wheeler told CTV News
. “It's not something you take lightly and throw on your head and wear to the bar or a concert.”
Wheeler told Salon.com
that her “first instinct was to buy all of them and throw them in the garbage.” Instead, she emailed H&M, asking for the items to be pulled from shelves.
H&M spokeswoman Emily Scarlett said the patterned head bands with bright pink-and-purple flowers were part of the company’s summer music festival collection called “H&M Loves Music.” She issued the following statement:
Music festivals these days are really about experimenting with fashion and dressing your personality. And they're very heavily based on accessories, really accessorizing your look...Of course we never want to offend anybody or come off as insensitive. We're always about being there for our customers.
According to Canada’s National Post
, Scarlett said the items are being removed from its 61 Canadian locations, but could not confirm if they were pulled from stores in other countries.
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Do you buy H&M’s “music festival” explanation?