The grey sweatpants.
A cultural institution in their own right.
A welcome sight during cuffing season — since we'd like to see what the man in question is working with.
And the butt of many a joke when the man in question falls, uh, short.
But for all the grey sweatpants have given the culture, Balenciaga decided to honor them in the most all-American way possible: by sticking them with a price tag of — wait for it — $1,190. (Does it come with liquid 24k gold to dip the d*ck in? WTF, Balenciaga?)
Now, CNN is reporting that the iconic haute couture fashion house is getting rightfully dragged for not only the ridiculous price tag (did you know you can buy a cute couch for less?) but also for cultural appropriation.
"Balenciaga men's Trompe-L'Oeil sweatpants in red triggers immediate concern given the grotesque similarity to the iconic African American hip hop aesthetic worn by Black Americans for decades that has resulted in the imprisonment and death of Black men," said Marquita Gammage, an associate professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Northridge, to CNN over email. "The trousers have commercial cultural appropriation written all over them; branded with the name Balenciaga."
But there's more. Balenciaga is also being accused of trading on Black pain for profit. Citing the example of Anthony Childs, who was shot to death in 2019 after violating a Shreveport, LA ordinance that outlawed saggy pants, critics noted that it was nothing short of creepy for Balenciaga to do what it did. (For what it's worth, the Shreveport ordinance outlawing saggy pants was lifted in the wake of Childs' murder).
Stella Jean, a fashion designer, agrees that Balenciaga was tasteless in its move. "Black culture is so often sampled, but rarely ever cited. And beyond giving credit where credit is overdue, the payout for those who have created and selflessly shared their genius, creativity, risk-taking, and innovation, rarely if ever comes," she said.