The Strange Story Behind Abercrombie & Fitch's "Racist Pants"

It's a little more complicated than you think.

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Yesterday Abercrombie & Fitch caught a lot of flak because of the website,, which carried a pair of pants that were described as "Nigger Brown." The link spread like wildfire over the Internet, without many people realizing the dubious, probably bootleg nature of the website.

Bootleg websites? Yep, many Chinese websites will often hijack URLs for popular companies and sell crappier versions of their products, while using very similar site design and imagery to the real thing. Any true sneakerhead knows there are bootleg sites for other companies like Nike and New Balance. 

Yesterday, Gawker pointed out the racial epithet on the pants' product description were most likely the result of a bad Chinese translation program. A program by Kingsoft translated the Chinese term for "dark brown" into the aforementioned racially-charged version, prior to a 2007 update. Looks like the racism is more the result of shitty software than say... bonafide racists.

Regardless, the uproar caused Abercrombie & Fitch to ramp up its efforts to shut down the offending website, because you know, copyright reasons, and currently appears to be down. Score one for the Internet, where outrage over a piss-poor translation helped lead to the takedown of a bootleg website. [WWD]

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