Monday, April 10, 2006

Adidas Noodles

Adidas is in trouble with Asians in the States over a line of trainers that features a character with a bowl-cut hair, slanted eyes, pig nose and buck teeth. You can see its problems.

Although I have to say that all it did for me was instantly reminde me of Noodles from Gorillaz, which can't be a bad thing.

The trainer in question is a collaboration between Adidas and San Francisco clothing maker Huf while the image, which features on the shoe's tongue, was created by Bay Area artist Barry McGee.

Asian Americans are arguing the image is a stereotype of the variety previously seen in anti-Chinese cartoons. While Adidas is keeping its head down and saying it "appreciates all self-expression", whatever that means, Huf owner Keith Hufnagel is going on the offensive giving both barrels to the bloggers who have taken up the campaign.

"First off... yellow. We're still the yellow peril to them, huh?'' wrote one blogger at Mr Brown, a blog in Singapore.

The name really doesn't help. The trainers are part of an Adidas collection called Adicolor Yellow series. Oh dear.

Hufnagel has dismissed the row as "internet garbage" and reminded the bloggers that the image had previously been used by the same artist in anti-racism work.

"They should do their studying before they say anything," Hufnagel said.

All it reminds me of is Noodles from Damon Albarn’s virtual band Gorillaz. Did anyone ever consider that to be racist? Rather than a cool cartoon, admittedly racially accentuated.

Whatever it is, sneaker devotees better be quick about it if they want to get their hands on these. Only 1,000 pairs of the offending trainers have been made, each coming with a $250 price tag that will likely soar once they find their way onto eBay, as they are sure to do.


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