Chinatown Market Announces Name Change

by OVERSTANDARD

Los Angeles based Chinatown Market has announced that it will be changing its name after recently being called out on social media.

Co-founded in 2016 by Mike Cherman, the brand, must now completely rethink its identity. The announcement follows several days of controversy on social networks spearheaded by Diet_Prada, who called CTM out for making it seem like Chinatown was nothing more than a shady counterfeit market, and for imitating asian culture, when in fact both CTM founders Mike Cherman and Dan Altmann are Caucasian. The call for the name change came after a wave of racist attacks against the Asian population in the United States.

It’s time for @ChinatownMarket to rebrand. The white-owned streetwear brand’s appropriation of a historic and culturally significant neighborhood propagates the idea that #Chinatown is nothing more than a shady counterfeit market. NYC’s Chinatown is a bustling culture beloved for its amazing restaurants, fish and produce markets, and countless small businesses, but it’s also one of Manhattan’s few remaining neighborhoods for low-income residents. In 2019, the NYC Government Poverty Measure found that 23.8% of the city’s Asian population lives in poverty. 1/4 of these are Asian seniors.
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Disproportionately impacted by Trump’s COVID-fueled Sinophobia, the local economy has also taken a hit and the community’s resilience is constantly being tested. As gentrification imposes threats on residents and local businesses, #ChinatownMarket ’s @mikechermanand Dan Altmann are pulling in an estimated 8 figures a year, according to anonymous sources. Retail partners like @urbanoutfitters and @footlocker, as well as collaborations with @pumaand @converse , have further bolstered the brand’s success. The latter recently posted a statement in solidarity with the #StopAsianHate , then publicized their collaboration  two weeks later, describing their aesthetic as “nostalgic.” Could you imagine a white man doing the same with a brand called “Harlem”?
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For a brand that claims roots/ties to Chinatown, they seem to have done very little to support them in a year that’s seen a shocking surge of xenophobia and violence against the AAPI community. Their first post acknowledging anti-Asian hate was posted 2 days after the Atlanta shootings. While it featured a list of AAPI charities to support, there was no acknowledgement of the shooting or the victims, 6 of 8 who were Asian women.
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That same day, they dropped “Stop Asian Hate” merch, and while proceeds benefit AAPI causes, they certainly have the means to do more that centering the brand and its products. A Change.org petition by @j.bush is demanding a rebrand, and it’s been endorsed by notable fashion personalities from the AAPI community including Humberto Leon, Prabal Gurung, Phillip Lim, and Tina Leung.

– Diet Prada

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