- Fred Perry pulled sales of a black-and-yellow polo shirt in the US and Canada in September 2019 because it was worn by members of the far-right Proud Boys group, it said Thursday.
- The British company described the association as “incredibly frustrating,” adding that the company is “in no way affiliated with the Proud Boys.”
- The polo shirt won’t be sold in North America until the association has ended, the company said.
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Fashion brand Fred Perry pulled a polo shirt from sale in September 2019 after it was appropriated by the far-right Proud Boys group in North America, the company said in a statement on Thursday, September 24.
The British casualwear company said it was “incredibly frustrating” that the Proud Boys, the all-male group that encourages political violence, have used a black-and-yellow shirt “to their own ends.”
“Fred Perry does not support and is in no way affiliated with the Proud Boys,” it said.
The company pulled sales of the shirt in the US and Canada in September 2019, it said. Fred Perry would not put the product back on the market “until we’re satisfied that its association with the Proud Boys has ended,” it added.
It was also working with lawyers to pursue any unlawful use of the brand, it said.
The shirt is still for sale on the brand’s UK online store.
The polo shirt has been on sale since the late 1970s, “and has been adopted generation after generation by various subcultures, without prejudice,” Fred Perry said.
The Proud Boys is a US-based group with members in Australia, Canada, and the UK. Its members have adopted the black-and-yellow Fred Perry polo shirts as an unofficial uniform. The group also makes its own black-and-yellow polo shirts. These look similar to the Fred Perry shirts, but feature the group’s initials within a laurel wreath crest.
Fred Perry ambassador Irvine Welsh, who wrote “Trainspotting,” told The Times last year that he would no longer wear the brand in the US because of the Proud Boys, but added that he would continue to wear it in the UK. When asked about the connection to the Proud Boys in 2017, Fred Perry Chairman John Flynn said it was “counter to our beliefs and the people we work with.”
In the 1970s, many members of the British skinhead culture wore Fred Perry clothes — in particular members of the British National Front. The brand has consistently distanced itself from these groups.
The brand has also been worn by mods and Britpop groups, and Fred Perry has collaborated with singer Amy Winehouse, tennis player Andy Murray, and cyclist Bradley Wiggins.