Earlier this week, luxury sneaker brand Golden Goose came under fire for what some critics labeled “poverty appropriation” after a social media post highlighting the brand’s $585 Distressed Superstar sneakers went viral.
Detractors argued that the intentionally destroyed Italian-made sneakers were insulting to homeless and poor people, an issue that was further magnified by the exorbitant retail price and the fact that the shoes were stocked at high-end retailers such as Barneys.
Golden Goose has responded to the controversy, explaining that it has proudly featured pre-distressed footwear and apparel in its collections for years. Furthermore, Golden Goose says that the Distressed Superstar sneakers at the center of the controversy were designed as an homage to the West Coast’s rich skateboard culture.
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“The company, which launched in 2000 with a customized re-edition of vintage denim items … is actually proud to highlight its pioneering role in the booming of the distressed look, one of the current biggest trends in fashion,” Golden Goose told US in a statement.
“The duct-tape reinforcements appearing on the [Distressed Superstar Sneakers] style pay homage to the West Coast’s skater culture — professional skaters, who inspired the brand’s shoe collections from the beginning, use to repair their shoes with the same kind of tape,” the statement continued.
Since the story broke earlier this week, it’s been picked up by numerous outlets, so it will be interesting to see if Golden Goose is able to capitalize on the attention the way Under Armour was able to do in the wake of the “Chef” Curry Two Low backlash earlier this summer.