After longstanding criticism from consumers worldwide, particularly so the Asian community that felt trivialised and ridiculed by the stereotypes perpetuated by Chinatown Market’s image and name, the streetwear label announced last year that they were changing names.
“We are announcing that we are changing our name. We are working with our partners and retailers to donate the proceeds from existing products and work to fund non-profits working with the AAPI community” they wrote.
Over the weekend, Chinatown Market became MA®KET, shedding the source of controversy from the brand name and (they hope) shedding the criticism that came hand in hand. “Over the past few months, [we’ve] had internal conversations. We went through a couple of names we loved, and we were psyched. Then we would go through the legal process, and realize we couldn’t own that name and be back to square one,” Founder Mike Cherman said.
The name has been changed, but the brand must continue to act in order to rectify the issue – there’s not a quick fix, get out of jail free card in a situation like this. Fortunately, Cherman seems to be doing exactly that.
“We need to have conversations, listen to people,” Mike says. “Sometimes people will say that these aren’t even our customers. That’s not what the important thing is because we’re not just doing this to sell clothes, we’re doing this to create a community that people can be proud of. If we were here to try to defend something, I wouldn’t be able to live the rest of my life doing that.”
MA®KET is all about boosting its community and is here to grow and learn by constantly listening to what is going on around us and what its followers are saying. Using social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, and Discord, the brand has managed to build a community of engaged followers and fans of the brand, and can directly communicate with them. “Two people from our Discord are now dating, you know?” Mike tells us. “It’s just really awesome to see because that Discord is very much at the soul of what the company is.”
Changing the name and taking responsibility wasn’t all easy, though. The brand spoke to members of the AAPI community, making sure that all the tough conversations were being had, and that the label could learn from all of the feedback and criticism. “Those hard conversations will lead us to have the right conversations and will help us take this step into the future in the right way.”
Let’s all wait and see how we feel about the brand in a couple years. Yes, they changed their name – albeit a bit late – but whether or not they follow through on the above pledge is another question entirely.
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