A.P.C. founder Jean Touitou has issued the following statement to GQ on A.P.C.'s severed relationship with Timberland:
When describing our brand's latest collaboration, I spoke recklessly using terms that were both ignorant and offensive. I apologize and am deeply regretful for my poor choice of words, which are in no way a reflection of my personal views.
A press representative for Timberland has issued a statement from the company's president, Stewart Whitney, saying it has severed ties with A.P.C.:
Yesterday we became aware of the offensive remarks made by Jean Touitou during his A.P.C. Fall Menswear show in Paris. We have chosen to immediately terminate our involvement with the A.P.C. brand, including the footwear collaboration we had planned for this fall. Simply stated, this kind of language and approach is in complete contrast with our values. Timberland seeks to collaborate with designers and brands who are at the forefront of lifestyle trends; equally important, they must also share our values. We will not tolerate offensive language or racial slurs of any kind being associated with the Timberland brand.
EARLIER STORY BELOW:
The N-word is never in vogue. However, A.P.C.'s founder Jean Touitou clearly didn't get that memo.
The french designer used the expletive several times during the presentation of his fall 2015 Men's collection in Paris on Sunday. While models stood dressed in a range of casual sportswear and A.P.C.-designed Timberlands, Touitou held up a sign that read "Last Ni##@$ IN PARIS."
Yup, you read that correctly. And the absurdity didn't stop there. Touitou proceeded to repeat the N-word while giving a speech to explain the collection's inspiration. According to Style.com, this is what was said:
I call this one look Last N****s in Paris. Why? Because it's the sweet spot when the hood—the 'hood—meets Bertolucci's movie "Last Tango in Paris." So that's "N****s in Paris" and Last N****s in Paris. [Nervous laughter from audience.] Oh, I am glad some people laughed with me. Yes, I mean, it's nice to play with the strong signifiers. The Timberland here is a very strong ghetto signifier. In the ghetto, it is all the Timberlands, all the big chain. Not at the same time—never; it's bad taste. So we designed Timberlands with Timberland…
So where could Touitou possibly find the nerve to be so blatantly racist? Apparently he got cosigned by his good friend Kanye West, who once designed a capsule collection for the clothing company.
Style.com reached out via email to Touitou for comment and received the following explanation from the designer:
I made looks which are a cross-over of those two references: the Timberland shoes and the sweat pants are iconic of hip-hop, and the camel hair color coat, worn with nothing under it, is iconic of that precise movie. I am friends with Kanye [West, who recorded "Ni**as in Paris" with Jay Z], and he and I presented a joint collection at the same place, one year ago, and that this thing is only a homage to our friendship. As a matter of fact, when I came up with this idea, I wrote to him, with the picture of the look and the name I was giving to it, and he wrote back immediately saying something like, "I love this vibe."
Oh, Kanye. What you just did was further perpetuate racism and negative stereotypes that are already plaguing the fashion industry. And like TheYBF.com pointed out, we're a bit confused that Kanye would even encourage Touitou's deplorable behavior, since the rapper has been so outspoken about the lack of diversity and racism in fashion.