When I started Savage Apparel Company in 2009, I chose the name Savage because of its meaning in the world of Ultimate Frisbee. It was an insider’s term that described playing with the minimum of seven players. It meant playing hard and playing fierce, which made sense given the original definition of the word savage: wild, ferocious, untamed.
Since then, the word savage has been enthusiastically embraced by popular culture. Rihanna called her lingerie company Savage X Fenty. We hear the word in songs and see Savage stickers on Instagram. It feels as if the word has been completely separated from its racist past — and that belief made us feel justified in continuing to work under the name.
But despite its origins, it is an indisputable fact that the word savage was used as a racial slur to describe Native American and Indigenous people for a period of time — and is still used today by some racist people. It is a fact that this word is still deeply offensive and hurtful to many people. And recognizing that fact is what ultimately brought us to the decision to change our name.
The VII symbol has been a major part of our branding since we started, and has always been a recognizable symbol of Savage Apparel Company. The VII represents seven players on the Ultimate field. Because it’s already a recognizable part of our brand, it seems like the most natural name change for our company.
We have more than a decade of history as a company called Savage, and it will take some time to make this transition. We have already set things in motion, redirecting our website to viiapparel.co. Our goal is to make a full transition to VII Apparel Company over the course of the next year.
To our loyal customers, we appreciate each and every one of you who has supported us over the years. We hope that you will follow us into this next phase of our company, knowing that the most important things will not change: the quality of our gear, our commitment to our customers, and the people who work hard to make this company what it is. We are here to serve you, our community, and we are grateful for your support as we take steps toward a more inclusive future.
—Todd Curran, Founder, VII Apparel Company