In recent years, Adidas has managed to steer clear of tone deaf advertisements and campaigns, but its winning streak came to a shattering halt after its latest collaboration. Adidas and longtime partner Pharrell Williams are reportedly being accused of cultural appropriation after creating a new collection that is inspired by the Hindu Holi Festival.
The Adidas Originals x Pharrell Hu Holi Powder Dye collection, which was released on Mar. 2, features a series of Hu NMD, PW, Human Race and Stan Smith PD sneakers in a series of vibrant, and powder-like colorways. The new look is reportedly inspired by the “Festival of Colours” – a popular festival in India which celebrates the arrival of spring and end of winter.
According to the activewear brand, the line was designed in order to represent “a continuation of the Hu journey, reflecting Pharrell’s founding vision of energy, color and spirituality as a unifying force between peoples.”
Despite Adidas’ good intentions, many critics took issue with the lack of representation. Some people pointed out the fact that the company selected an American musician to market a collection inspired by Indian and Hindu culture.
A European company getting an American musician to market a line of apparel/footwear inspired by an Indian festival 🤔
— Ishita Trivedi (@Ishita_Trivedi) March 2, 2018
i cannot believe people are mad about the pharrell collab…. holi is like x'mas, it would be like being mad there's a x'mas sweater
— AMRIT (@_itsamrit) March 12, 2018
After catching wind of the fan backlash, Adidas released a statement that elaborated on the company’s intentions. “Adidas Originals and Pharrell Williams created Hu as a global platform to inspire positive change,” the statement reads. “Hu was founded upon the principles of unity, equality, humanity and color with an intention to explore humanity and celebrate diversity around the world. Together, Adidas Originals and Pharrell Williams use the platform to help tell stories of others from around the globe.”
Check out the Adidas Originals x Pharrell Hu Holi Powder Dye collection here.