The big online retailer ASOS has dropped a clothing line called “It’s a Hoodrat Thing” following a social media backlash that claimed the brand was racist and culturally appropriative.
Founded by “two hip-hop loving, wannabe gangsters who met whilst studying fashion in Manchester,” It’s a Hoodrat Thing offered ’90s- and R&B-inspired streetwear and sportswear. ASOS sells clothing from more than 1,000 small boutiques worldwide, but just weeks before the controversy, it had named It’s a Hoodrat Thing one of its brands to watch.
Twitter noticed the Bali-based brand on Dec. 16, and took umbrage. Basically everything about the clothing line offended them, from its potentially loaded name to its use of white models to its “cultural appropriation” of black hairstyles and fashion. Several complaints also noted that the designers appeared to be white, though Heat Street could not confirm their ethnicity.
— BlueBadBitch (@fvlzbt) December 16, 2016
— Wesley Madison (@AddyMadison) December 16, 2016
— I.S. Jones (@arurianshire) December 15, 2016
— Cari (@tweetyjiggles) December 18, 2016
@ASOS has a line called "Hoodrat Thing??" …. sounds racist to me. Won't be supporting them.
— Mrs. Old Bae (@coolminnie16) December 17, 2016
— ♉️ (@freckledken) December 17, 2016
Just hours after the backlash began, ASOS tweeted that it had looked into Twitter users’ concerns and had removed the brand from its site.
@NoirMisfit Eeek! Really sorry about this! It's already been looked into and removed from our site ☺️
— ASOS (@ASOS) December 16, 2016
In an emailed statement to Heat Street, a spokeswoman for ASOS wrote: “Marketplace is a collection of independent sellers who must agree to our terms and conditions when they join. Whenever we find a product or label that violates our policies, we remove it immediately.”
By deadline, It’s a Hoodrat Thing had not responded to Heat Street’s request for comment. It’s a Hoodrat Thing has taken down its website and removed its Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.