Chinatown Market has announced it will be changing its name. The move follows a growing number of targeted acts of violence against Asian-Americans across the US and a Change.org petition accusing the white-owned streetwear label of “cultural theft.”
In a statement yesterday, CTM wrote, “The Asian American community is rightfully demanding all of us think and act more honestly. We should have done this sooner but it is never too late to do the right thing. Our name was inspired by the shops, people, and vibrance of Canal Street and Chinatown in New York but it’s not our name to use." Read the statement in full below.
As Tiffany Ng wrote recently for Highsnobiety, “Chinatowns were originally formed in the US to be vast security enterprises. As ethnic enclaves, the security of those in Chinatowns was predicated on isolation, separating themselves from violence – economic, political, and physical – perpetuated by their fellow Americans.”
In the petition, Julian Han Bush explains, “Chinatowns around the world are the heart of Asian communities, and were for a long time the only safe place for Asians when they were immigrants unwanted by society.” In the last year, ”Gentrification, COVID shutdowns, and most recently an unprecedented increase in Anti-Asian violence and hate crimes have pushed already vulnerable Chinatowns and other Asian American communities to the brink of economic and social collapse."
CTM has acknowledged that, historically, it hadn't properly considered “what this name would mean to the communities in Chinatowns across the world.” In taking ownership of the mistake, the brand has reportedly worked with activist Eric Toda and NextShark founder Benny Luo to open a new chapter for the company. “It’s time to do the right thing and we are committed to being a part of the change.” They are currently working with partners and retailers to donate the proceeds from existing products and work to fund non-profits working with the AAPI community.
The brand has yet to reveal what exactly the name will be changed to or the date that it will go into effect. Meanwhile, Respawn has put a series of CTM skins on hold that were slated to drop today. A few hours after CTM's announcement, Respawn tweeted, “In support of our friends at @ChinatownMarket's decision to rebrand, we're holding the launch of in-game CTM-branded skins in @playapex tomorrow. The skins will come back with a fresh look after the rebrand.”
Highsnobiety has reached out to Chinatown Market for more information.