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Fred Perry pulls polo shirt adopted by US far-right group 'Proud Boys'

By Huw Hughes

29 Sep 2020

Fashion

Fred Perry has stopped selling its classic black and yellow polo shirt after it became associated with US far-right group the Proud Boys.

The British fashion brand said it is pulling the shirt in the US from September 2019 and will not sell it there or in Canada again until it’s “satisfied that its association with the Proud Boys has ended”.

The label said it is “incredibly frustrating” that the group has “appropriated” its twin tipped shirt and “subverted” its Laurel Wreath “to their own ends”.

“To be absolutely clear, if you see any Proud Boys materials or products featuring our Laurel Wreath or any Black/Yellow/Yellow related items, they have absolutely nothing to do with us, and we are working with our lawyers to pursue any unlawful use of our brand,” Fred Perry said in a statement.

Fred Perry stops sale of polo shirt in US, Canada

The Proud Boys is a US group established in the build up to Donald Trump’s election as president in 2016 by Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes. McInnes has since distanced himself from the group which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group denies this labeling and instead refers to itself as “proud Western chauvinists” with an “anti-political correctness” agenda.

“The Fred Perry shirt is a piece of British subcultural uniform, adopted by various groups of people who recognise their own values in what it stands for. We are proud of its lineage and what the Laurel Wreath has represented for over 65 years: inclusivity, diversity and independence,” Fred Perry continued.

“The Black/Yellow/Yellow twin tipped shirt has been an important part of that uniform since its introduction in the late 70s, and has been adopted generation after generation by various subcultures, without prejudice.”

The brand’s chairman John Flynn also distanced the brand from Proud Boys back in 2017. “Fred was the son of a working class socialist MP who became a world tennis champion at a time when tennis was an elitist sport. He started a business with a Jewish businessman from Eastern Europe. It’s a shame we even have to answer questions like this. No, we don’t support the ideals or the group that you speak of. It is counter to our beliefs and the people we work with.”

Photo credit: Fred Perry, Facebook