Wood & Black Resin Boomerang. Source:  Chanel

Wood & Black Resin Boomerang. Source: Chanel

I've seen Chanel boxing gloves, surfboards and more. Now the fashion house has released it's latest in sports equipment, the Chanel boomerang. This time, it looks like Chanel's innovative idea is coming back to hit them. The Chanel boomerang, released as part of the 2017 Spring/Summer pre-collection, retails for a whopping $1,460. For those who aren't fans of boomerangs, you can also snag a pair of beach rackets with matching balls for $3,695. 

While it seems the Chanel boomerang isn't a new product and has been around for years, a tweet by makeup guru Jeffree Star, seemed to give the product just the attention it needed (or perhaps didn't need). It is not clear if Star received the item c/o from Chanel as there are no indications that his tweet was an ad. Star's tweet set of a subsequent firestorm with several people accusing Chanel of cultural appropriation and exploitation of Indigenous Australian culture. Nathan Sentence told the The Guardian in Australia that the boomerang retails for almost 10% of the average annual income of Indigenous Australians.  

In response, Chanel issued the following statement, "Chanel is extremely committed to respecting all cultures and deeply regrets that some may have felt offended. The inspiration was taken from leisure activities from other parts of the world, and it was not our intention to disrespect the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the significance of the boomerang as a cultural object." 

So now what? I find that I often read articles about brands being accused of appropriating other cultures. While there is nothing wrong with finding inspiration around the world, at what point does inspiration become appropriation? Some articles and tweets I read suggested Chanel donate proceeds to organizations aimed at helping Indigenous Australians or perhaps donating a percentage of proceeds made from the sale of the boomerang. Is this enough?

What do you think? 

sources: BBC, The Guardian