Designer Mike Cherman has finally revealed the new name of his formerly titled fashion label, Chinatown Market: Ma®ket. The change has been in the works for some time and comes after the noted uptick in violence towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in reaction to the pandemic.
“We look at this less as a rebrand and more about leaning in to who we’ve always been,” Cherman told WWD about the news. “We’ve had conversations internally about who we are as a brand. We always come back to the same thing, and that’s the market — and we recognized it was a name we need to own.”
In another interview with Complex, Cherman shared how he came up with the idea for the new name and logo. “So the registered R is obviously, like, a registered trademark,” he said. “It’s something that is meant to be this idea that once you have that, it’s not something that is meant to be shared and meant to be, you know, used with the community… So I think for us, it’s flipping that meaning of the registered are being something that is exclusionary and really about making it a symbol of inclusion.”
The United States has had its conscience awakened with regard to racially insensitive commercial branding (e.g., Land o’ Lakes, the Pearl Milling Company, the Washington Football team). But after the spike in assaults on the AAPI community, including a wave of attacks in San Francisco’s Chinatown and the murder of six Asian women in Atlanta, a Change.org petition was put forth and prompted Cherman to reconsider the tone-deaf nature of his company’s name.
“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 wrote on IG in March. “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 then pledged to stop using the name and contribute the proceeds from all remaining inventory towards nonprofits focused on assisting the AAPI community.
To also celebrate its new name, Ma®ket is releasing three capsule collections that will hit the web before they make it to stores. One of the collections, the Anniversary Graphics Capsule, includes wares created by every member of Ma®ket, and Cherman said it will serve as a “platform for everyone to showcase their creativity.”
The company also announced it has a number of linkups on the way with brands like Pokémon, Puma, and Tommy Hilfiger. “We’re not here to sell T-shirts. It’s about building a community,” Cherman said, adding that “[i]t was something that needed to change… The last several months have been really incredible. We’ve worked with so many great individuals and organizations and we’re excited to continue finding new ways to support their work, like artist collaborations that I know our community will love.”