Cedella Marley Calls Out Louis Vuitton Over “Jamaican Stripe Sweater” Foul-Up

Cedella Marley

Cedella Marley joined the weeklong lampooning of Louis Vuitton on Wednesday, after the French luxury fashion brand unveiled a new US$1350 men’s pullover in the Ethiopian flag colors, and erroneously labeled the garments “Jamaican Stripe Sweater”.

In the apparent jab at the fashion house, which appears to have pirated the sweater design from images of her father Bob Marley, who was the first star to rock the Ethiopian colors in his trademark tracksuits and sweaters, Cedella, tagged the fashion house in a post she made featuring a photo of The Gong, clad in a red, gold and green sweater, juxtaposed with that of the Louis Vuitton sweater faux pas.

“Bob says that’s the Ethiopian flag @louisvuitton ,” she captioned the post.

Cedella’s post come on the heels of an article published by BET a few days ago which ripped into the fashion house’s designers for making fools of themselves.  According to the BET, “whether it was a case of good intentions gone wrong or something far more malicious, there is no question that this advertisement is cringe-worthy and displayed a blatant lack of research”.

The BET headlined their article A Fail!: Louis Vuitton Designs A Sweater ‘Inspired’ By The Jamaican Flag, And The Colors Are Completely Wrong and said that the fashion company had completely missed the mark.

“The brand states that the below pullover sweater in green, yellow, and red is ‘inspired by the Caribbean island’s national flag’.   Understandably we are speechless, primarily since this so-called tribute does not feature the same colors as the Jamaican flag,” the BET writers noted.

“FYI: The Jamaican flag is black, gold, and green. Each color with its own symbolism: Black depicting the strength and creativity of the people; Gold representing the natural beauty of the sunlight and the wealth of the country; and Green signifying hope and agricultural resources,” they added.

The faux pas did not escape the eyes of Wayne Chen, co-author of the book Reggae Routes who shared a post by The Daily Beast on Twitter which said: “Louis Vuitton’s “Jamaican Stripe” pullover, advertised as “inspired by the Caribbean island’s national flag,” does not actually feature the same colors as the Jamaican flag.”

In an April 2011 article published on the World Intellectual Property office website titled Exploring Ras Tafari Culture, which introduced the Rastafari culture and explored the community’s steps to protect and preserve its cultural identity Jamaican attorney, Marcus Goffe, who was Legal Advisor to the Ethio-Africa Diaspora Union Millennium Council, noted that the Rastafari culture was being infringed upon and exploited by outsiders, with impunity.

“With the broad appeal of the Ras Tafari worldview and the global standing of reggae music, traditional Ras Tafari symbols and imagery have been popularized and used extensively in commercial products ranging from T-shirts, jewelry, arts and crafts items, smoking paraphernalia, hats, clothes, bags and shoes”.    Very few of these products are made by Rastafarians, and none of the monies accrued from their sale benefits the Ras Tafari community,” he said.

On Cedella’s Instagram page, those of her fans who were aware of the missteps made by Louis Vuitton, also slammed the fashion house just as hard as the BET did.

“Bob also says he don’t want the Babylon System profiting off of RASTAFARI seen,” thegothicrasta wrote, while jah3608 noted: “It’s only when they want to make money they remember Rastafari but ask them what do they know of his Majesty and Ethiopia …This makes me laugh .This is an Italian design using Ethiopian colors very disrespectful. David still a beat Goliath”.

Other followers said the designers were out of touch with current ad international affairs and lacked knowledge of geography.

“Babylon doesn’t know the difference between Jamaica and Ethiopia. 12,539km!” crispinmusundi said, while dbrown_the_barber declared:  “It’s goes to show money before education for the brands… it’s a pity as if they had any sense the education would generate them more.. it’s laughable that they quote Jamaica, but disrespectful that at the same time they insult!!!”

Others said Louis Vuitton was exploiting the popularity of Brand Jamaica to make sales.

“Jamaica sells…. LV is not stupid,” ah_who_yuh said while yvonnebrown4 noted: “@cedellamarley..ole pirates cum to rob I.”

Some followers like biancayurose questioned whether Louis Vuitton was paying royalties to the Rastafarian community for the use of the colours.

Wowwww!!!! What a SHAME @louisvuitton. I’m sure Bob wouldn’t even encourage anybody to pay whatever price this is gonna cost. I wonder if Rastafarian or even Jamaican communities are benefitting off of this?

An upset negusmawon demanded that the French company desist from its cultural appropriation.

“Those are the flag of Ethiopia colors not Jamaica. At the least they could do is know the difference.. Stop the appropriation of a culture and a people!!! @louisvuitton,” she ordered.