Fred Perry will no longer sell its black and yellow polo shirt in the US, due to the item of clothing being worn by the far-right group the Proud Boys.
The brand issued a statement online to explain that any neo-fascist groups wearing the polo shirts – or wearing or selling products using the Fred Perry laurel wreath – are ‘nothing to do’ with them.
The British clothes maker said on its website: ‘Fred Perry does not support and is in no way affiliated with the Proud Boys.
‘It is incredibly frustrating that this group has appropriated our Black/Yellow/Yellow twin tipped shirt and subverted our Laurel Wreath to their own ends.’
Fred Perry was created back in 1952 by the Wimbledon tennis champion, Fred Perry.
Since its inception, the brand’s polo shirt has been known as an iconic piece of clothing associated with different subcultures, including the skinhead movement back in the 60s and 70s.
But now, the shirt has been linked to the Proud Boys, a far-right, pro-Trump organisation described as an ‘extremist group’ by the FBI.
In the statement, Fred Perry acknowledges that while their iconic item has long been a ‘piece of British subcultural uniform’, they’re aware that the specific black and yellow colourway of the shirt has taken on a ‘new and very different meaning in North America as a result of its association with the Proud Boys’, who have repeatedly appeared wearing the shirts.
‘That association is something we must do our best to end,’ the statement continues. ‘We therefore made the decision to stop selling the Black/Yellow/Yellow twin tipped shirt in the US from September 2019, and we will not sell it there or in Canada again until we’re satisfied that its association with the Proud Boys has ended.’
After confirming that the black and yellow polo shirt will no longer be sold in the US, Fred Perry reiterated that they plan to take legal action to fight against the adaptation and use of their laurel wreath design by neo-fascist groups.
They write: ‘To be absolutely clear, if you see any Proud Boys materials or products featuring our Laurel Wreath or any Black/Yellow/Yellow related items, they have absolutely nothing to do with us, and we are working with our lawyers to pursue any unlawful use of our brand.’
This isn’t the first time the brand has had to comment on the shirt’s links to far-right groups.
Back in 2017, Fred Perry’s chairman, John Flynn, made his views clear when questioned about the Proud Boys, saying: ‘Fred was the son of a working class socialist MP who became a world tennis champion at a time when tennis was an elitist sport. He started a business with a Jewish businessman from Eastern Europe.
‘It’s a shame we even have to answer questions like this.
‘No, we don’t support the ideals or the group that you speak of. It is counter to our beliefs and the people we work with.’
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