Fashion label’s $2000 wood-and-resin boomerang draws ire of Joe Williams

NOT IMPRESSED: Controversial activist Joe Williams believes the Chanel boomerang should be pulled, or used to support Indigenous communities.

NOT IMPRESSED: Controversial activist Joe Williams believes the Chanel boomerang should be pulled, or used to support Indigenous communities.

A FASHION label’s $2000 wood-and-resin boomerang has drawn the ire of Joe Williams.

The Wagga Aboriginal activist has accused Chanel of “belittling” one of Aboriginal Australia’s most unique and distinctive cultural emblems, reducing it to a fashion accessory.

The expensive item is part of the brand’s new luxury sports collection catalogue, which also includes $2200 tennis rackets and $570 four-packs of tennis balls. 

It has ignited a heated row throughout the Indigenous community. 

Mr Williams said the boomerang should either be immediately pulled from sale, or used as a fundraising tool for struggling Aboriginal communities.

“It’s pretty much questioning the integrity of Aboriginal culture,” he said. 

“It’s insensitive and disrespectful and its misinterpreting what our artwork truly means.

“This is nothing more than an embarrassment. 

“They’re selling it for nearly $2000 so why not donate it to struggling Indigenous communities.”

He said the fashion house, helmed by creative director Karl Lagerfeld, had taken advantage of century-old history for profit. 

“This company is making money while the average Indigenous person has a 15-year less life expectancy,” he said.

Professor of Intellectual Property and Innovation Matthew Rimmer said the issue highlights the need for laws that “better protect Indigenous intellectual property”.

Chanel’s “luxury” boomerang is 130 times more expensive than a standard boomerang purchased on Amazon for $15. 

The company has been selling and showcasing boomerangs since 2006 when they were on display at a Hong Kong boutique for a "sport exhibition".

A spokeswoman for Chanel has issued an apology in response to the backlash. 

“Chanel is extremely committed to respecting all cultures and deeply regrets that some may have felt offended,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. 

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