ASOS in the Midst of Controversy for Selling “Slave” Shirt

ASOS, one of the world’s leading online fashion stores, have found themselves in the middle of a controversy that has provoked a backlash nationwide. A black model wearing a t-shirt with the word ‘slave’ was pictured and published on ASOS. Given the connotations of such a word, the photo has been seen as offensive.

ASOS Marketplace


In all fairness, it wasn’t technically ASOS who uploaded the picture. The shirt comes from a brand called Wasted Heroes who advertise their clothing line through ASOS’ online marketplace.

The idea of this range of t-shirts is mocking the idea of being a ‘slave to the label’ and subsequently mocking other companies’ logos such as Nike, Coca Cola, and Burger King .

Wasted Heroes Website


“This wasn’t meant to cause any offence and was about being a slave to a label. It really was extremely stupid of us,” Wasted Heroes tweeted.

ASOS immediately removed the photo from their site in order to distance themselves from the shirt, releasing a short statement about the matter:

“Marketplace is a collection of independent sellers who must agree to our terms and conditions when they join.

Whenever we find a product that violates our policies we remove it immediately.

There is also a ‘report this item’ link under every product picture.”

ASOS also sent out some tweets through their Twitter account, apologising for having overlooked the insensitive image.

It is a bit worrying to think that no one thought the image would cause problems. There was obviously a lack of foresight here but it seems pretty clear that this was solely a mistake which was overlooked and no offence was intended.

What do you think? Do you think the branding and choice of model is offensive or is the controversy a bit over the top?