Iconic fashion brand Ralph Lauren has issued an apology for using Black fraternity Phi Beta Sigma’s symbols on a pair of $334 chinos.
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In the petition, fraternity members noted, “Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. DOES NOT belong on your jeans!!”
“We are a week away from the 106th anniversary of the founding of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and what is plastered all over social media? An ad for Polo Ralph Lauren Chino Graphique Droit with the letters that represent Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Greek letters on the back crease of said pants! Members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., an illustrious organization stared & shared in utter disbelief!”
An ad for the pants on Ralph Lauren’s French website featured the Greek letters for the fraternity which was founded at Howard University, a prominent historically black college in Washington.
After catching heat online, a Ralph Lauren spokesperson issued the following statement via Watch The Yard:
“The use of these symbols on our products was an oversight for which we deeply apologize. We are immediately taking action to remove the product from our sales channels. While we have a rigorous review process in place for all of our designs, this has prompted us to take another review of our protocols to help ensure that this does not happen again. As an American brand with more than 50 years of heritage, Ralph Lauren is inspired by many facets of American culture. As part of this, we are firmly committed to the respectful and appropriate use of all cultural icons and insignias.”
The brand has since reached out to the fraternity and discontinued the sale of the pants.
“Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. was founded in 1914 under the principles of brotherhood, scholarship, and service,” a legal representative for the fraternity, Andrea Hence Evans, said, adding that she was “shocked and appalled” by the pants. “Our client’s brand symbolizes a brotherhood of diverse, college-educated men.”
PHOTO: PR Photos
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