Tag Archives: nike

Consuming Natives: Kevin Durant Nike edition

I came across this Kevin Durant shoe that seems to scream cultural appropriation to me.

Thanks to the sportingnews.com for the image of Nike Kevin Durant shoe.

The shoe raises money for Nike, Kevin Durant and some Native American athletic programs (I assume in that order).  But the description is a toxic collection of generalizations and stereotypes mashed together.

 

The bold Nike N7 KD VI features the repeating pattern of arrows that first launched on the Pendleton Woolen Mills Nike N7 blanket last month. The arrow print  symbolizes energy and forward motion and has reflective built in for a surprise effect when worn in the elements.  The bold colors used on the KD VI have significant meaning in Native communities. Turquoise is used often as a color symbolic of friendship, and red is one of four colors—yellow, red, black and white—featured on the traditional Native America medicine wheel, representing movement and the four directions. The KD logo appears on the heel and the N7 logo is on the tongue.

via NIKE, Inc. – Nike N7 and Kevin Durant Collaborate to Support Native American Youth.

That is amazing!  Red is a color significant for Native Americans!  Whoa!  It is good to know where that stuff comes from (sarcasm).   How about vague ambiguity when it comes to so-called native symbols and precise articulation of the Kevin Durant logo?

Nike has also developed a wide shoe, the Air Native N7, for Native North American’s supposedly wider feet (they measured 224 indians feet to justify this claim!)  While criticizing the marketing of this shoe, we can lay some of the News from Indian Country analysis against this Kevin Durant shoe press release.

Some vocal opponents of the Air Native N7 believe the shoe line indeed fosters stereotypes because, along with the company’s trademark swoosh, the footwear features feathers, arrowheads, sunset designs and circle of life motifs. Nike officials have said the product is designed to “deliver sustainable innovation,” and the “N7” portion of its name is meant to encourage “a seventh generation ethos.”

“In my opinion, the whole idea is racist,” says Eugene Johnson, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, who’s paid close attention to the development of the shoe line. “This is a branding scheme of advertising that Nike is known for… I have no doubt that the sales folks are hoping that Indian sympathizers and the general public will be thinking of how Nike is so charitable in thinking of the Indians, thus, increasing sales through the usual brand of Nike branding advertising.”

via Does the Shoe Fit? Native Nike footwear raises concerns – Indian Country News.

I happen to agree that the dual marketing benefit of being seen as charitable  to anonymous poor indians helps to sell the shoe as does the appropriation of cultural symbols.  I think the same might be said about this Kevin Durant shoe.

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Filed under cultural appropriation, fashion, health, Native, race, representation, sport

Juxtaposition: Nike

Artifact one: Cambodian Nike factory fires 300 striking workers. 

Around 300 workers on strike for better pay at a Nike factory in Cambodia have lost their jobs. A union spokesperson said the fired workers’ dismissal letters cited their involvement in the strike, which seeks a wage hike of $14 a month. Although the vast majority of the factory’s 5,000 workers have taken part in the strike, many have begun returning to work after over three weeks off the job. It’s the 48th strike by Cambodian garment workers this year, more than in the entire years of 2010 or 2011.

via Headlines for June 12, 2013 | Democracy Now!.

Artifact two: Nike Air Foamposite One

Nike’s showing no signs of slowing down with Foam releases, but why should they? The Foamposite One’s received a ton of love at retail for the past year with even the most absurd color schemes ending up selling well. And when this sport royal-game royal-wolf grey colorway hits retail – especially in a hue that’s Orlando-themed – they’re likely to join the ranks of this year’s most wanted footwear.

via Coming Attractions: Nike Air Foamposite One “Sport Royal” | The Smoking Section.

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Filed under colonialism, fashion, human rights, juxtaposition, propaganda, resistance