Shoppers in Waikīkī can pick up designer bags and designer watches, but something more might be coming. A famous French designer is offering a familiar item from the Asia Pacific that’s also drawing some criticism. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.
Chanel is selling boomerangs.
You know, those flattened wooden curves that return to the thrower. Or in this case, a “wood and resin” model sporting the interlocking double C’s of the Chanel logo.
It can be yours for a mere $1,500 or thereabouts.
That’s sparked more than a bit of ridicule online. Not just about the price, but also on behalf of Australia’s indigenous people.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation noted one response saying “Cultural appropriation hits a new low—I sincerely hope that Chanel is donating all the profits to underprivileged Aboriginal communities.”
ABC also quoted activist Nayuka Gorrie, who wrote “Have decided to save for the next three years so I can connect with my culture via Chanel.”
Chanel issued a statement saying it “is extremely committed to respecting all cultures and regrets that some may have felt offended.”
Aboriginal Australians have used boomerangs for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years.
The Australian Museum notes that boomerangs have been used around the world—from Egypt and India to southern Poland—where archeologists found a boomerang carved from mammoth tusk with an approximate age of 23,000 years….and not available in the Chanel catalogue.