Culture

Nike Stole Panamanian Indigenous Artwork And Tried To Pass It Off As Puerto Rican Until Latinos Canceled The Whole Thing

After Nike teased its imminent release of an Air Force 1 shoe design meant to celebrate Puerto Rico, it was immediately met with backlash. The design features a coquí, the frog that can be heard chirping all over the island, and Puerto Rico’s national animal. That’s cool.

What’s not cool is the colorful design bordering the coquí, which is a blatant copy of a traditional Panamanian mola design. The company has since postponed the release of the show. They even apologized for “the inaccurate representation of the design origin for the Nike Air Force 1 ‘Puerto Rico’ 2019 edition.”

The Puerto Rico Nike Air Force 1s were expected to be released on June 6 at $100 a pair.

@IsaacLarrier / Twitter

“@Nike, Guys, these are cool sneakers, and I get the reference to the Coquí frog, but this pattern and design are NOT from Puerto Rico,” @IsaacLarrier tweeted. “It’s a design called MOLA, made by the Guna people in Panama and parts of Colombia. It is a HUGE failure of your research department.”

The mola design belongs to the Guna indigenous peoples of Panama and Colombia and is very specific.

@IsaacLarrier / Twitter

Most of the Guna people live in Guna Yala, islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama. Belisario López, the leader of the Guna community told U.S. News and World Report that the design represents “Mother Earth because the design is based on everything that is nature.”

The Guna knew that their design was protected by intellectual property laws in Panama and fought back.

@luscifers_ / Twitter

Their lawyer, a Guna woman, released a statement that stated that Nike never asked for permission and that they “pirated” the design for company profit. Too often, companies steal from generations of indigenous art with no recourse. This time, the Guna people won.

The Guna Yala community isn’t opposed to commercializing the design.

@AFP / Twitter

“We are not against our ‘mola’ being commercialized,” Belisario López, Leader of the Guna Yala Community told US News and World Report. “What we oppose is it being done without consulting us first.”

Another major problem is that Nike tried to reappropriate Guna culture as Puerto Rican.

@friendlyskyz / Twitter

That a U.S. company would internationally distribute Panamanian artwork as representative of Puerto Rico left many Panamanians pretty angry. Rightly so.

The fact is that the mola is more than a design. It’s identity.

@amoreroxie / Twitter

Monica Martinez, a professor of social anthropology at Barcelona University who has been studying the Guna for twenty years, said, “The mola is like a flag for the Guna. There is really a cultural identity that is articulated around the mola. It is a very strong element of identity.”

Some Panamanians are pointing out that Panama has frogs, too.

@bluishyoongs / Twitter

As well known as the coquí is to Puerto Rico, the Golden Frog is also widely known as endemic to Panama. It’s Panama’s national animal.

Some Latinos are angry that Nike didn’t look closer into Puerto Rico’s own rich history of art.

@yayalove86 / Twitter

You don’t have to look too far to find an established Puerto Rican graphic designer or artist to consult with. Where are the art historians on the Nike team?

The creator of La Borinqueña already tweeted a mockup to Nike.

@MrEdgardoNYC / Twitter

“.@Nike, when you make a tribute sneaker for Puerto Rico, note that ‘mola’ art is from the Indigenous people of Gunayala in Panama,” @MrEdgardoNYC tweeted. “So, here’s my quick #LaBorinqueña mockup and we can donate proceeds to our grants program in PR and the Mola shoe can benefit Panama! Hit me up!”

The tribe is now seeking damages for profiting off “part of the spirituality of the Guna people.”

@tongai / Twitter

Guna lawyer Aresio Valiente told AFP, “The company has to compensate us because it was an illegal copy of our designs.” This is part of a larger effort to reclaim justice for what feels like identity theft.

Valiente knows that Guna’s case against Nike is “not the only one in the world. Thousands of designs and the ancestral knowledge of indigenous people are being pirated by multinational companies.”

READ: 21 Times the Fashion Industry Appropriated Latino Culture

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Día De Muertos Takes Over The Sneaker World With New Collection By Nike

Culture

Día De Muertos Takes Over The Sneaker World With New Collection By Nike

Nike

Mexico’s famed Día de Muertos celebration seems to be everywhere these days. Following the James Bond film Spectre – which featured several scenes amid a fictional Day of the Dead parade – Mexico City created the parade just to satisfy people’s demands.

Now, Día de Muertos is being picked up by brands from all over the world as a way to pay tribute to the popular, traditional holiday (and likely make some money in the process…)

Nike is the latest brand to announce its own Día de Muertos collection and it’s already got fans of the iconic brand ready and waiting with their wallets in hand.

Nike announced its latest Día de Muertos collection which is set to debut later this month.

Last week, the footwear company announced it will be releasing its 2020 Día de Muertos collection later this month, ahead of the Mexican holiday where families gather to celebrate their loved ones who have passed away.

According to Nike’s announcement, the collection includes four styles of shoes including the Air Max 90, the DBreak Type, the Blazer Mid and the Air Jordan 1, all with unique designs that have “a modern approach grounded in art and culture.”

“Día de Muertos’s traditional ofrendas, or altars, serve as the design inspiration behind each of the silhouettes and apparel pieces, with colors, patterns and crafted details nodding to the delicate, handmade artwork of papel picado and flowers typically seen at an altar,” the announcement said.

In addition to the four noteworthy sneaker types that will be available, the collection also includes t-shirts and a sweatshirt, all of which will likely sell out fast – so have your wallet ready!

Nike’s Día de Muertos collection is known for its festive colors and iconic designs.

Credit: Nike

The Nike Day of the Dead sneakers are the sneakers that the swoosh brand launches every year to celebrate the Day of the Dead in Mexico. It is an annual celebration and remembrance, known for its striking iconography and festive colors.

Using the traditional Mexican Cempasúchil flower as a common thread and interpreting the motto “Para Mi Familia”, the four models are colorful tributes to the members of the family, both present and past.

Each pair is based on the traditional Day of the Dead ofrendas (altars), using bright color schemes and intricate details that salute the delicate papel picado and flowers that often surround them.

Some of the pieces — specifically the T-shirts, sweatshirt, the DBreak Type and the Air Jordan 1 — even have the phrase “Para Mi Familia” written on them, to bring the collection “back to the notion of family,” the announcement said.

The collection will even feature a special, limited edition Nike Air Jordan 1.

Credit: Nike

First up are the Nike Air Jordan 1 mid-cut shoe. It combines a white base with purple and gold overlays, provides a “Family” touch on the fender, special details on the tongue badge and insoles and a cracked leather around the neck.

If you’re looking for color, then the Air Max 90 will likely be your first choice.

Credit: Nike

The Nike Air Max 90 shoe is the most vibrant shoe of the bunch, covered from toe to heel in playful, swirling patterns that use multiple shades of red, yellow and orange.

Nike’s latest Día de Muertos collection is already available at Nike stores in Mexico but it the collection will be available globally in the Nike App SNKRS from the 15th of October.

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A European Sneaker Shops Is Selling The Iconic Puerto Rican Nike’s

Culture

A European Sneaker Shops Is Selling The Iconic Puerto Rican Nike’s

43einhalb / Instagram

A sneaker shop in Germany is selling some of the most iconic Nike sneakers created, the Air Force 1 “Puerto Rico.” The sneakers will be sold at a shop in Germany and fans cannot wait to get their hands on these sneakers.

German sneaker fans have a chance to get their hands on a pair of Nike Air Force 1 “Puerto Rico.”

Credit: 43einhalb / Instagram

On June 2, the shoes will be available at the shop, and fans can’t wait. The shoe is one way for every Puerto Rican to show their pride in where they come from. The shoes were originally released in 2005 and this release is something exciting.

However, U.S. sneakerheads will be left out.

Credit: 43einhalb / Instagram

The store, which is located in central Germany in the city of Fulda won’t be able to shop these to other countries. That being said, only Germans will likely get their hands on these shoes because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Travel is restricted so it seems likely that you will be able to hop on a plane to get these shoes.

Those lucky enough to get their hands on these shoes can expect to spend 130€ ($142) on them.

Credit: 43 einhalb / Instagram

These shoes are not the only way for Puerto Rican fans of Nike shoes to show their cultural pride. The shoe company has other options for the Caribbean people to wear their pride on some sneakers.

The man difference in these shoes from the original is the work on the upper shoe. The upper shoe is a tonal midfoot Swoosh and a navy sockliner. The Puerto Rican flag is embroidered on the tongue and heel fo the shoe to really drive home the Caribbean pride.

Nike has released multiple Puerto Rican-influenced sneakers and they sell quickly.

The sold out Air Max 1 Puerto Rico sold for $140. These were created to celebrate New York’s Puerto Rican Day Parade. The sneakers have the words “Pa’lante Mi Gente” on the inside of the tongue giving a special message to all Puerto Ricans. The sneakers are meant to celebrate not just the culture but the strength of the Puerto Rican people to keep moving forward.

READ: After Revealing He Played In Sneakers With Holes As A Kid, Neymar Racks Up An $18,000 Bill On ‘Sneaker Shopping’

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