Nike accused of 'targeting the current gang culture for profit' with £70 balaclava

The garment was slammed after images of a model wearing the military style head piece were shared online. Credit: PA

Nike has come under fire for selling a £70 balaclava, which critics say is marketing gang culture.

The Nike x MMW balaclava, which appears to have been removed from the company’s website on Monday, is intended to keep wearers warm in cold weather conditions.

But the garment was slammed after images of a model wearing the military style head piece was shared widely online.

YouTuber Mr DT took to Twitter, accusing the brand of "targeting the current gang culture for profit".

While comedian White Yardie also condemned the clothing, saying Nike was "exploiting" young people involved in gang crime.

"Let’s be real the only people who will go and buy these are young people involved in gangs. Too much young people are dead and too much young people are doing the killings," he said in a minute-long video.

Photographer Anthony Benjamin drew comparisons of the sale of the headgear with a promotion created by Puma earlier this year, where the rival sportswear brand threw a party - titled the House of Hustle - inspired by adolescent drug dealing.

Guests were sent Puma shoe boxes full of fake £50 notes, "drug dealer" phones and business cards that instructed invitees to "turn on the trap line".

The balaclava was part of a clothing line made in collaboration with US fashion designer Matthew Williams, whose clothes have been worn by Kanye West, Travis Scott and Tom Sachs, among others.

However, CEO of the London-based community outreach project Soap Box, Paul McKenzie, said young people "adore these manufacturers" and questioned why the influential brand felt the need to sell this type of clothing.

ITV News has reached out to Nike for comment.