Australian clothing chain Best&Less has been accused of “blakfishing” by folks online after it released a new line of designs by Ellie Whittaker. Critics said the range has been “misleading” customers into thinking they were actually purchasing designs by a First Nations artist.

Whittaker, who is white, collaborated with Best&Less range on the range which launched at the end of October.

In the days following, it became the centre of a heated discussion online which prompted Whittaker to make an apology.

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The discussion included allegations that Whittaker incorporated First Nations artistic styles into the range.

Best&Less Accused Of ‘Blakfishing’ Over ‘Misleading’ Range Created By Non-Indigenous Designer

Best&Less Accused Of ‘Blakfishing’ Over ‘Misleading’ Range Created By Non-Indigenous Designer

Best&Less Accused Of ‘Blakfishing’ Over ‘Misleading’ Range Created By Non-Indigenous Designer

Best&Less Accused Of ‘Blakfishing’ Over ‘Misleading’ Range Created By Non-Indigenous Designer

Among the critics was Bobbi Lockyer who won the prestigious NAIDOC Artist of the Year award in 2021.

“I had so many people messaging me saying they specifically went out and bought it because they thought they were supporting a First Nations artist,” Lockyer told news.com.au.

“I thought, “that’s really misleading”. Even looking at the Best&Less website, the use of the young brown kid as the model… all of that is a little bit deceiving.”

Lockyer was particularly critical of the snake design, which she said didn’t “sit right” with her.

In response to the online criticism, Best&Less Group executive chair Jason Murray told the Daily Mail Whittaker was inspired to create the snake design after an encounter with a real-life snake. This was later echoed by Whittaker in her apology.

“This is one of multiple prints in the Ellie Whittaker Collection, which is a new design collaboration for Best&Less,” he told the publication.

“We are certainly interested in collaborating with other amazing artists and designers in Australia.”

As mentioned, Whittaker has since published an apology to her 34,000 followers on Instagram.

The full range remains on sale via Best&Less, including the snake design.

PEDESTRIAN.TV is unaware of any arrangement to donate a portion of the profits to First Nations organisations.

Image: Facebook and Instagram @Best&Less