Golden Goose, an Italian luxury brand that advertises itself as having "a low-key communication strategy and a highly selective placement in venues that share the brand's philosophy," has come under fire for a tattered shoe that critics say glorifies poverty.
One of the venues selected by Golden Goose for product sales is Nordstrom, where consumers can find the Superstar Taped Sneaker retailing for $530, along with this description:
"Crumply, hold-it-all-together tape details a distressed leather sneaker in a retro low profile with a signature sidewall star and a grungy rubber cupsole."
If the idea of spending over $500 on shoes that are seemingly held together by tape confounds you, you're not alone. More than 40 million Americans live in poverty, according to the US census, but consumers of all kinds weighed in on the shoes this week.
Reaction was so intense Wednesday night that tweets on the subject were compiled onto a landing page for quick consumption in Twitter's "moments" tab, where they quickly gained more traction.
Among the angry messages were criticisms calling the sale of the shoes "peak capitalism" and "distasteful." Nordstrom's website was cited repeatedly by users, although the shoes are also available on other sites.
Some Twitter users said they'd seen poor school kids get ridiculed for having shoes that looked similar to their $530 counterparts.
Comedian Christine Sydelko tweeted, "there are people in the world wearing plastic bags as shoes because they can't afford any but these HIDEOUS things are selling for $500 the fashion industry is truly so f***ing stupid."
By Thursday afternoon her tweet had received more than 8,400 retweets and 49,000 likes.
Golden Goose and Nordstrom did not immediately return a request for comment.
Others fought back, noting that Golden Goose creates unique, handcrafted shoes that are worth their price.
Although the Superstar Taped Sneaker is taking heat this week, distressed shoes have been part of the brand's selection for some time. In 2016, a different line of Golden Goose sneakers featuring tape and scuff marks drew some criticism. A pink version retailed for $585, a blue version was sold at $590, and the online reaction was similar, with a British comedian remarking online that the shoes were "poverty appropriation."
Boots featuring tape and other sneakers featuring scuff marks are also currently available on the brand's website.