KITH is being criticized across social media for a recent X-Men campaign the brand released last month to celebrate the comic franchise’s 60th anniversary. Made in collaboration with Marvel and ASICS, the capsule collection featured a number of apparel offerings, as well as an assortment of GEL-LYTE III‘s that were specially designed in the colors of prominent X-Men characters.
The campaign teaser photo in question showcased a pile of GEL-LYTE III’s stacked against a corner in a strikingly similar way as one of Felix Gonzalez-Torres‘s many Candy Works installations from the early 1990s. In the latter, the Cuban-American visual artist created a series of artworks made of tiny wrapped candy that piled on floors and against corner walls, such as “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), which paid tribute to the artist’s boyfriend, Ross Laycock, who died from AIDS-related complications in 1991.
Not to mention the other major cultural implications of a pile of shoes like this… please say sike!!!! pic.twitter.com/d73qMeix5g
— Elizabeth Goodspeed (@domesticetch) August 14, 2023
Designer and writer Elizabeth Goodspeed took to X (formerly Twitter) stating: “I cannot believe no one told me that KITH ripped off Félix González-Torres’s piece about his partner dying of AIDS for a drop celebrating ****the 60th anniversary of the X-Men franchise****.” Amongst the over 37,000 likes the post has amassed since yesterday, both Godspeed and several other commenters even compared the campaign image to the “room of shoes at the US Holocaust Museum in Washington DC.”
KITH did not mention Gonzalez-Torres’s work during the release of the campaign, and while it’s entirely uncertain if the comparison was intentional or not, Goodspeed added that the image was still “Inept moodboarding or media illiteracy at best!”