// Fred Perry axes black and yellow polo shirt after neo-fascist groups in North America adopt it
// It has stopped selling the item in the US & Canada and won’t bring it back until it’s satisfied its association with the far-right has ended
// Neo-fascist group Proud Boys appropriated Fred Perry’s signature Laurel Wreath emblem to advertise a rally in Oregon
Fred Perry has removed a black and yellow polo shirt from sale in the US and Canada after it became associated with a neo-fascist organisation.
In a statement posted on its website, the British fashion retailer and brand said the association was “incredibly frustrating”.
The garment in question has been worn by members of Proud Boys, a men-only organisation with a track record of promoting political violence and white supremacy.
Founded by Vice magazine co-founder Gavin McInnes in 2016, Proud Boys has also been classified as an “extremist group” by the FBI.
Earlier this week, the Proud Boys appropriated Fred Perry’s signature Laurel Wreath emblem to advertise a rally in Oregon.
“It is incredibly frustrating that this group has appropriated our Black/Yellow/Yellow twin tipped shirt and subverted our Laurel Wreath to their own ends,” Fred Perry said in its statement.
“The Fred Perry shirt is a piece of British subcultural uniform, adopted by various groups of people who recognise their own values in what it stands for.
“We are proud of its lineage and what the Laurel Wreath has represented for over 65 years: inclusivity, diversity and independence.”
It added: “Despite its lineage, we have seen that the Black/Yellow/Yellow twin tipped shirt is taking on a new and very different meaning in North America as a result of its association with the Proud Boys.
“That association is something we must do our best to end.”
Fred Perry does not support and is in no way affiliated with the Proud Boys. Read our statement here.
— Fred Perry (@fredperry) September 25, 2020
Fred Perry has already stopped selling the polo shirt in the US and Canada, and said it would not return it to its fashion range until it’s satisfied its association with the Proud Boys has ended.
“To be absolutely clear, if you see any Proud Boys materials or products featuring our Laurel Wreath or any Black/Yellow/Yellow related items, they have absolutely nothing to do with us, and we are working with our lawyers to pursue any unlawful use of our brand,” Fred Perry said.
Fred Perry’s signature polos are associated with the Skinhead movement, which in its early days in the 1960s stood against fascism.
However, the brand has consistently denounced the ideologies of the far-right and neo-fascist groups over the years.
Just earlier this year, Fred Perry shut down a host of British Twitter users who complained about the diverse casting seen across its Instagram account.