Monday, November 02, 2009

How Adidas Stole from AFRICA

If Adidas wants to borrow inspiration from AFRICA then they should pay up or Give Credit Where due - This is my letter to adidas with regards to the misspelling of the word 'KENTE' and lack of ascribing the origin of the cloth use in their African Inspired 'KENTA" Nizza 2 Hi sneakers

Hi i noted that for a while now Adidas has been doing the materials of the world special edition shoes and clothing. I think this is lovely and commend adidas for this.
As an African Designer I was also extremely excited by the release of Jeremey Scotts Africa Themed apparel. I was excited when i saw the African Inspired Nizza 2 Hi sneakers however i was saddened by the wrong description of the material used. The Adidas description stated that it was a unique 'kenta' cloth. Unfortunately Adidas has got it all wrong the cloth used on the shoe in question is actually the 'kente' cloth and not the 'kenta' cloth as has been published in all materials pertaining to the shoes.

This lack of respect for the name and history of Ghana's national cloth shows how little research and consideration was taking in fashioning or mimicking this shoe as an authentic African product.

Kente is the trendiest and most renowned cloth in Ghana and possibly in all of Africa. The strip-woven cloth made by the Akan people of Ghana and the Ewe people of Ghana and Togo, is the best known of all African textiles. Its fame has spread globally where it is now one of the most admired of all fabrics in many parts of the world.

Africa as it is a misunderstood, over exploited and misrepresented continent - If conglomerates like adidas wish to take inspiration from African art and textiles for their products the least you could do was provide an accurate historical description of the 'borrowed' design.

The country of origin of the kente design was not published.
Kente has been woven for centuries on looms by skilled artisans in Ghana and Togo - these designs are the daily bread of these Africans and the intellectual property of these artists and Nations as a whole.

I am certain Adidas will not be happy if a small shoe and clothing factory in Ghana decided to utilise the Trefoil logo and the 3 - Stripes mark on their make shift line.

So why is it that the culture and intellectual property of whole nations can be misrepresented by such a big company without and regard for the originators of the design.

I would appreciate it if the name of the shoe could be corrected and the design origins of the material could be rightfully ascribed to its originators. I am sure this is either a typographical mistake or just a slight oversight as a company with such a rich history will not intentionally misrepresent the whole continent of AFRICA.
thanks for your attention
P.S No AFricans were plagiarized in the making of this letter.
Kwabena Boateng

Please spread the word and post this on your blogs, diggs, twitter facebook etc
If africans dont speak out on injustices on or image and brand wewill wake up one day and the copy right of the word AFRICA
will be owned by a multi national in the WEST.


Nita said...

shame, ripping our culture off! For the sake of all that is kentefied in this world, those sneakers are sure to be found in my collection soonest!

Nana said...

Hiya! Have you sent your letter directly to Adidas? I think that would also be helpful. Also check out what social media they engage with - many orgs are now monitoring the response they get with their social media traffic

All the best

KOB said...

Hi thanks for the support gys - yeah i have sent a couple of letters directly and nana thanks for the idea i have used facebook and twitter to spread the word.

Nita - yes they are fly :)

Nana Kofi Acquah said...

Very soon, Africa will kick all those thieves where it hurts most. Just wait.

Merrymary said...

Did you hear anything back? Otherwise a petition needs to be started :)

KOB said...

hey guys thanks for reposting and tweeting the message - over 300 people have read it and it is even making the rounds on blackberry phone groups. I have just posted an update please check it out. thank and keep the pressure on them.

ween planning said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kb said...

Lets be realistic here. It is rather unfortunate Ghana does not know the real worth or benefit of the Kente. So we failed to make an effort to Trademark the kente or protect it as an intellectual property.
Don't forget that adidas employs ghanaians aswell.
Our inability to develop our rich culture,protect and expand its beauty is our own fault.
Leave Adidas alone and tell your gov't to start with appropriate measures to secure the plethora of rich cultural symbols and art before they are gone

KOB said...

kb u are saying leave them alone - like i have wronged them - pls if you know and ghanaians that work for adidas then please give me their details. And yes the Ghanaian government has failed but that does not mean i as a citizen should also fail to speak my mind. Thanks for passing by.