The high-end fashion label Balenciaga received criticism on the internet after it listed a pair of sweatpants that netizens believed ripped off black culture and was ‘racist’. These sweatpants are worth $1,190 (£860) and incorporate two boxer shorts that peek out from the waistband during the day. They are a Trompe L’Oeil version of boxer shorts popularized by hip-hop musicians.
A Balenciaga product description stated that the company sometimes combined multiple wardrobe items into a single piece. The company’s chief marketing officer, Ludivine Pont, cited ‘jeans layered over tracksuit pants [and] button-up shirts layered over t-shirts’. According to her, these Trompe L’Oeil trousers were an extension of her vision.
However, people aren’t taking this lightly and call this a rip-off of Black artists who popularized this style during the 1990s and 2000s. Pop culture during the ’80s popularized sagging pants that frequently revealed the boxers underneath. Netizens are divided on the issue, with one section calling it ‘racist’ while the other feels it was a common trend from the 90s and not racist at all.