Over at Racialicious, their Fashion blogger noticed a fascinating advertisement in Temperley’s, a London clothier. A pair of tight tan colored leather pants were referred to as “Latino Pants.” Now the funny part is, no one, including the blogger, has ever heard of Latino Pants. Latino is not a type of style, it’s not an ancient work for leather, or in any shape way or form related to the pants at all, except that they are tight, leather and tan. The article goes on to discuss how incredibly racist the fashion industry still is and just how anyone in their right mind could’ve thought that it was sexy or reasonable to name a pair of pants “Latino” just because of the ‘color’.
However, I am not all that surprised, either by the racism of the industry or the naming. European fashionistas have always had a grand old time appropriating and commodifying people of color so this move shocks me less than reminds me of how much we still have in common with our brothers and sisters abroad.
I remember my grandfather once telling me that during World War II he and his friends were looking for shoe polish in a small town outside of London. At the time, Black American soldiers in England were treated slightly better at home (but not by much). British military men were pretty hostile to Black men who had flown across the ocean to bail them out. So when my grandfather and his friends asked what colors of show polish were available the clerk, without a touch of shame or irony said “We have black polish, and we have NIGGER BROWN”. And, literally, there was a tin of shoe polish on the counter emblazoned with “Nigger Brown” on the sides. So it’s not hard to see how 50 years later, not much has changed – except the type of people being commodified.
This article originally appeared on Politic365.com.