December 01, 2009

Squaw Shopper purse

Shopping with Squaws:  Irregular Choice Gives Itself a Bad Name

By Wendi MuseI 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.

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?
Comment:  Right-click on the image to see it at full-size.

Among the background images are what appear to be a big-nosed, half-naked, blue Indian with a bow and arrow, a teepee, a bow and arrow by itself, some sort of feather headdress with sunglasses, a deer, and perhaps a blue canoe and a green ear of corn. In other words, a odd assortment of Indian stereotypes.

The purse's name is stupid, of course. It ignores the widespread disapproval of the word "squaw." And there are so many other names that would've worked just as well. Blue Dreadlocks, Blue Spaghetti, Blue Seaweed, and on and on.

For more on the subject, see and Squelching the S-Word.


Anonymous said...

I just checked their site and the name has been changed. It is now just listed as "Shopper Bag"!

Rob said...

Good catch. Thanks!

Of course, the bag's URL

still contains the "squaw" text. And the bag still has the stereotypical images. But our little criticism apparently had an effect.