Shopping with Squaws: Irregular Choice Gives Itself a Bad Name

squaw shopper bagby Special Correspondent Wendi Muse

I have to give companies credit for coming up with unusual names for the merchandise. One such company that comes to mind is Irregular Choice, a flamboyant Britain-based shoe company who goes all out to wow consumers. With asymmetrical heels, bizarre accessories, and designs that stop traffic, Irregular Choice is the Lady Gaga of the shoe world. The company has worked diligently to combine a little humor, a lot of fun, and heaps of quality in its lines, year after year. With its flagship NYC Soho store, it graced American shores with one of the best British invasions since the Beatles. Let’s just say I’ve always been a big fan.

But every now and then, in their attempt to be cute, they sometimes go over the border of taste. And I am not just talking about the shoe designs. I am talking about the names.

On occasion, shoes pop up with ethnic names. Take, for example, their “Latin Lady” shoe from a previous collection. The black shoe was covered in tropical fruit (a la Carmen Miranda) and, while appealing to the eye, the name seemed a little off.

For this season’s collection, the mouth-open moment came with a (hideous) purse I noticed on the site. With its blue shredded shingles and background of miniature prints of cartoon natives, the “Squaw Shopper” takes the cake, winning an A+ in offensive. Maybe if this were the 1950s and this bag were geared to children it wouldn’t be so shocking, but in 2009, the jig is up. What’s most offensive is that they used the word “Squaw” in the name. They could have named it something else that touched on the whimsical indigenous theme without resorting to an offensive term. Maybe this is some sort of Thanksgiving joke I missed?

Although, offensive bag name aside, kudos for their snarky jab at MTV via men’s shoes “Justin Bobby” and “Prattster”  (in reference to the “reality” show The Hills) and “Gangsta Grill” (referring to almost any popular rap song from 2006-07 that came out of the South).

Can anyone else think of a better name for this bag, if that’s even worth it?

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

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