Amongst the peaceful protests, there have been instances of looting and rioting, which some people believe discredits the call for justice. Marc Jacobs is one voice who disagrees. The American designer’s Los Angeles storefront was broken into and looted during the George Floyd protests that happened on the weekend. As well as the shattered glass doors and shop floor empty of products, the designer’s store was subject to some graffiti.
On one window, a “F*ck capitalism” tag could be seen, while the designer’s placard at the entrance had “Marc Jacobs” crossed out. Written above and below the sign were the names George Floyd and Sandra Bland. Floyd died earlier this week when a police officer kept his knee pressed onto Floyd’s neck despite him saying he couldn’t breathe and Bland was found dead in a jail cell in after being arrested during a traffic stop in 2015.
Marc Jacobs shared a photo of the sign to both his personal Instagram account and the official Marc Jacobs brand page, captioning it simply with “A life cannot be replaced. Black Lives Matter.” While most commenters have responded positively, Jacobs responded to one commenter who said he was “crazy” and asked “What if they destroyed your stores?” with the succinct reply, “My store was destroyed last night.” Perhaps the commenter missed his earlier post, which included the message, “property can be replaced, human lives cannot.”
While, as others have noted, Marc Jacobs has an imperfect record when it comes to racial sensitivity—he sent white models down a runway wearing dreadlocks in 2016—being an ally is about continual learning and uprooting racism wherever it exists. Marc Jacobs’ sentiment demonstrates his values and the priorities that sometimes get lost because of inflammatory reporting from both traditional news outlets and on social media. Peaceful protests, like the ones attended by Ariana Grande and Cole Sprouse (where Sprouse was arrested), often get sidelined when there’s more dramatic footage that can be capitalised on.
A number of riots have also been shown to be started by non-black people as a distraction from the movement and an opportunity for them to steal, including one incited by a police officer.
Rioting and looting are seen by many as a natural pathway to demand justice when it is continually dismissed by authorities that are supposed to be protective. Some designers have even posted that in their opinion, the messages of consumption, rarity and exclusivity around their brands have warped the actions of their fans.
Bobby Hundreds, the owner of the Los Angele store The Hundreds had his story broken into over the weekend. In an Instagram post, he wrote “Is anyone truly surprised that 2020 looters would not set fires or rob banks, instead opting to steal Bearbricks and sneakers? We feed these kids this bullshit all day. Convince them they need things they don’t, that they are not enough without a brand on their back.”
Another store owner, Sean Wotherspoon echoed the sentiments. When his Round Two and Round Two Vintage stores were ransacked, he responded saying that “I can’t stress enough, our shops are not what you should be worried about,” continuing, “We need our world to change, people should all be treated equal.”
If you’re looking for a way to help, Syrup has a short guide to the situation and ways to help on their Instagram. There are also Black Lives Matter protests being organised across Australia if you’re able to protest in person.