Culture

Dsquared2 apologizes for offensive clothing collection

Dan and Dean Caten say they hope their past mistakes help shed light on Canada's history

The fashion design duo Dan and Dean Caten, Dsqared2, released an apology to all Indigenous people in Canada over their controversial women’s clothing collection last year called Dsquaw.

The collection sparked significant backlash when it hit the runways at Milan Fashion Week in March 2015, almost one year ago. Many found the name of the collection offensive and the Catens' use of Indigenous style in the clothing inappropriate. 

The twin team received more backlash this past week, with echoes of last year's uproar, when it was announced that they would be outfitting Team Canada for the Rio Olympics opening ceremony this summer.

“Our Dsquared2 Women's Fall-Winter 2015 collection paid homage to the beauty and strength of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, who have shaped our country's cultural identity,” the Catens wrote in their letter dated Feb 24.

“We are sad that our collection, which was meant to be a celebration of cultures, might have caused hurt through our inappropriate use of words.”

Indigenous athletes who’ve competed in past Olympics expressed concerns over Dsquared2’s appointment as Team Canada outfitters.

Jesse Cockney, an athlete from Yellowknife who competed in the Sochi Olympics in 2014 for cross country skiing, said wearing Dsquared2 clothing would have made him uncomfortable.

"From the second you read a label to put it on and feel maybe uncomfortable with that, it's not a great way to start your day," he told CBC News.

"Especially during those three weeks [you’re competing] when you need everything to be perfect. So negative energy, I can't see being helpful."

Dan and Dean Caten’s letter notes that they hope their mistake last year can bring more attention to Canada’s difficult history and relationship with Indigenous people.

“We can only hope that by making this mistake we have brought attention to this issue, and learn together more about our country’s history,” they added.

“We will continue this journey, learning and educating ourselves about the diversity of the Indigenous Cultures of Canada: First Nations, Inuit and Métis.”

Read the full letter here

What do you think of the apology? 

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