Pandora releases a collection inspired by Keith Haring’s iconic artwork – but fans aren’t happy
Pandora has released a Keith Haring collaboration but not everyone is happy about it.
The brand dropped the collection of jewellery including charms, necklaces and rings inspired by Keith Haring’s “pioneering principles of inclusivity and diversity”.
It pays homage to the artist and activist whose pop art designs were influenced by 1980s culture in New York and started out as graffiti on the walls of the city’s subway.
After gaining public recognition he created large scale works that most famously addressed the AIDS crisis, including advocating for safe sex and AIDS awareness.
When the collection – which was released on 29 September – was unveiled, fans of Pandora and Keith Haring were excited about the launch.
The comments on the brand’s Instagram page included, “I need this”, “literally drooling over this this” and “I’m obsessed with this collection”.
But after it dropped a number of people questioned whether proceeds would go to charity, including his own Keith Haring Foundation, as well as the lack of information on the website highlighting Haring’s work during the AIDS crisis.
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One comment read: “And how much of profits will be donated to HIV charities for using his work??”.
Another added: “I’m unsure how this collection promotes inclusion or openness? Do a % of the sales go to a charity? An aids / HIV charity feels like an appropriate fit?”.
Meanwhile on the Pandora x Keith Haring collection page, there is a section “about the artist”, but no mention of Haring’s sexuality or his vital work which advocated for safe sex and AIDS awareness.
Pandora launching a Keith Haring ‘collab’ with what seems to be zero mention of AIDS or his activism is a form of erasure at a time where HIV stigma remains rife in society
This also received a passionate response from people, with one asking: “Why doesn’t the website talk about Haring’s work and how heavily it’s associated with AIDS? Or even a mention of the LGBT community instead of vague words like ‘love’?”.
Another queer person echoed this, writing: “If you’re going to use a queer artist, least you could do is show some appreciation about his life, his sexuality, his battle with AIDS, what he did for the community.”
“Straight brands yet again appropriating and disrespecting the work of my communities’ artists, to flog a few earrings. Absolutely enraged,” they added.
However there was some queer representation, as the brand teamed up with New York-based drag artist, West Dakota who appears in the collection’s promo.
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Others noted the price mark of the collection, which ranges between £55 and £455.
Ahead of its release, one Haring fan commented: “Will any profits be going to charity? Like what Keith would of probably wanted?
“Excited to see what you are charging for these pieces, seen as Keith wanted his art to be accessible to EVERYBODY let hope you have stuck to his ethos. If not this is insulting to everything he believed in.”
Somebody else said that his “art was made for EVERYBODY, his main ethos was to be inclusive” adding that “most people couldn’t afford this jewellery”.
It marks one of a number of Keith Haring-themed collaborations recently, which have included Caseify, Primark, Uniqlo and Dr. Martens to name a few.
Keith Haring is collaborating with Pandora, Primark, Caseify… what’s going on?
— valentina vidak (@ValentinaVidak) October 4, 2022
One Twitter user asked: “what’s going on?”
To see the collection for yourself head to uk.pandora.net.
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