Luxury brand Balenciaga accused of racism after releasing $1200 'sagging' trackpants

Balenciaga sagging trackpants on model
It's not the first time the luxury brand has been accused of racism. Photo credit: Balenciaga.

Luxury fashion label Balenciaga has been accused of racism with the release of its new 'sagging' trackpants, which retail for over US$1200.

The French/Spanish retailer was blasted online after a video of the trackpants, with sewn-in boxers to look as if they're sagging on the hips, was posted on Twitter by a UK shopper.

"They've really just gentrified sagging," the video's caption read. 

"This feels very racist Balenciaga," the shopper says in the video as they inspect the pants. "They've woven the boxers inside the trouser."

'Sagging', a trend of wearing pants below the waistline or even lower to expose one's boxers, is a style often associated with Black youth culture and was popularised in the 1990s by hip-hop artists.

According to Business Insider the trend was considered an offence in some US states as recently as 2019. In Louisiana, a police officer shot and killed Anthony Childs, a 31-year-old Black man, while attempting to arrest him for breaking the "saggy pants ban".

"This actually pisses me off. Do you know how many black men have been vilified, discriminated against and killed for this only for it to be marketed as high fashion?" one Twitter user replied to the video. 

"Black culture is commodified, imitated, critiqued and disrespected then sold back to the people that do it," added another. 

It's not the first time Balenciaga has been accused of racism. 

In 2018, an altercation broke out at one of its Parisian stores after it appeared security were refusing to let in a group of Chinese shoppers who had been queuing for hours. 

Balenciaga released an apology following the incident.