Protesters took to the streets in cities across the United States and internationally this weekend, calling for justice for George Floyd, a black man who was killed on May 25 when a white former Minneapolis Police Department officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes, resulting in Floyd’s death. The outrage and rallies following this event are steeped in a history of violence against black and brown people—and the police brutality against which they’re demonstrating has been met with more resistance from the authorities.
As tensions rise, stores are being looted, defaced, and in some cases, set on fire; over the weekend, some luxury and designer retail locations were hit. On Sunday night in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood—a hub for both high-end and fast-fashion retailers—people looted the Chanel, Rolex, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci stores.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, stores located on Rodeo Drive, The Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, and in the Fairfax shopping area were also looted, including Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs.
Most designers haven’t released explicit statements or commented on the looting yet, but not all are remaining silent. On Sunday, the Marc Jacobs label posted a photograph on its Instagram account of the brand’s sign in Los Angeles, which had been crossed out with the names “Sandra Bland” and “George Floyd” written instead.
“A life cannot be replaced,” the caption read. “Black lives matter.”
Marc Jacobs, the designer, then reposted it to his personal Instagram account one hour later, along with a photograph of a store window, empty save for four chairs, with “George” tagged in spray paint across the glass.
In an earlier Instagram post on his personal account, Jacobs wrote, “Never let them convince you that broken glass or property is violence...property can be replaced, human lives cannot,” in response to the lootings.
Elsewhere, other brands are showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and their advocating justice for George Floyd. When video of a protester spray-painting “black lives matter” on a Jen Atkin Hair billboard surfaced, the brand responded with the tweet, “made our sign [even] better.”
Tyler, the Creator released a statement on his brand GOLF's store in Los Angeles, which, as of Monday, was boarded up and spray-painted. He prefaced his message of support for the movement with a quotation made by the Black Panther party.
"Black Fury: keep your eyes wide and educate yourself," he said. "And the store is fine, but even if it wasn't, this is bigger than getting some glass fixed and buffing spray paint off. Understand what really needs to be fixed out here."
And although Nike hasn’t explicitly addressed the looting of its nationwide stores over the weekend, with locations in Seattle, Chicago, and New York City affected, the brand did post on its social accounts a video message that stated, “For once, don’t do it. Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America.”
Virgil Abloh, the creator of Off-White and the artistic director for Louis Vuitton Men’s, is receiving blowback for comments he left on an Instagram post from the owner of vintage shop Round Two, Sean Wotherspoon. Wotherspoon posted two pictures of the Round Two locations in Los Angeles, with “Morning LA” as one caption, and the broken-heart Emoji as the other. Abloh commented on one of the posts, “This is fucked up. You see the passion, blood, sweat, and tears Sean puts in for our culture. This disgusts me. To the kids that ransacked his store and RSVP DTLA, and all our stores in our scene just know, that product staring at you in your home/ apartment right now is tainted and a reminder of a person I hope you aren’t...When you walk past him in the future please have the dignity to not look him in the eye, hang your head in shame.”
In response to a separate user on Instagram who commented on the post, Wotherspoon himself responded, “I can’t stress enough, our shops are not what you should be worried about.”