One of the biggest up-and-coming brands is undergoing a huge change.
Amidst the constant attacks on the AAPI community in America, a reckoning has occurred to be more accepting. And that has not only affected crime around the country but also clothing brands. Clothing brand Chinatown Market –whose name was always a bit eyebrow-raising– has finally decided to change its name. It all started with a Change.org petition that accused the brand of “cultural theft” because it’s owned by a white man named Mike Cherman.
“The concept of Chinatown is not for sale, especially not by a white person who only uses the word Chinatown as a synonym for bootleg. It is an act of cultural theft for a white person to profit off of people like Lebron James, Alicia Keys, and many others wearing CHINATOWN clothing. This is a company that was silent on #stopasianhate until three days after the Atlanta mass shooting, when Pres. Biden had already ordered that flags around the country be lowered to half staff. Does this sound like a company that is in touch with the needs of the Asian American community? Does Chinatown mean bootleg to you?” read the petition.
Cherman took to Instagram with a statement about what influenced the change and realizing that while the name was never meant to be derogatory, he now understands that it’s offensive and a form of cultural appropriation.
“The Asian American community is rightfully demanding all of us think and act more honestly. We should have done this sooner, but it is never too late to do the right thing,” Cherman writes. “Our name was inspired by the shops, people, and vibrance of Canal Street and Chinatown in New York but it’s not our name to use.”
He goes on to explain that he, along with his partners and retailer are currently figuring out how to donate proceeds from the existing product line to non-profits that serve the AAPI community.
CTM has yet to reveal what the new name will be.