Last week it was Gucci, this week it’s Burberry. The luxury brand had a hoodie with a noose at London Fashion Week and there has been outrage.
The hoodie with a noose has been accused of being insensitive to suicide and being racially offensive. See below:
Marco Gobbetti, Burberry chief executive officer, said in a statement reported by CNN, “We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection Though the design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake.”
Burberry’s chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci, the show’s designer, also said, “I am so deeply sorry for the distress that has been caused as a result of one of the pieces in my show on Sunday. While the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive. It was never my intention to upset anyone. It does not reflect my values nor Burberry’s and we have removed it from the collection. I will make sure that this does not happen again.”
The hoodie was criticized by model Liz Kennedy who wrote on her Instagram, “Suicide is not fashion. It is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway.” She also mentioned the “horrifying history of lynching.”
View this post on Instagram
@burberry @riccardotisci17 Suicide is not fashion. It is not glamorous nor edgy and since this show is dedicated to the youth expressing their voice, here I go. Riccardo Tisci and everyone at Burberry it is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway. How could anyone overlook this and think it would be okay to do this especially in a line dedicated to young girls and youth. The impressionable youth. Not to mention the rising suicide rates world wide. Let’s not forget about the horrifying history of lynching either. There are hundreds of ways to tie a rope and they chose to tie it like a noose completely ignoring the fact that it was hanging around a neck. A massive brand like Burberry who is typically considered commercial and classy should not have overlooked such an obvious resemblance. I left my fitting extremely triggered after seeing this look (even though I did not wear it myself). Feeling as though I was right back where I was when I was going through an experience with suicide in my family. Also to add in they briefly hung one from the ceiling (trying to figure out the knot) and were laughing about it in the dressing room. I had asked to speak to someone about it but the only thing I was told to do was to write a letter. I had a brief conversation with someone but all that it entailed was “it’s fashion. Nobody cares about what’s going on in your personal life so just keep it to yourself” well I’m sorry but this is an issue bigger than myself. A look so ignorantly put together and a situation so poorly handled. I am ashamed to have been apart of the show. #burberry.
The apology from Burberry feels weak considering there was no mention of suicide or lynchings. But this happens every week. Last week, Marco Bizzarri, Gucci’s president and CEO, flew to New York City and met with legendary designer Dapper Dan, along with other community activists, due to their blackface sweater.
Bizzarri said in statement the will begin four initiatives, which include hiring global and regional directors for diversity and inclusion, creating a multicultural design scholarship program, launching a diversity and inclusivity awareness program, and implementing a global exchange program.
After an avalanche of criticism, Gucci ended sales of its $890 balaclava black-knit women’s sweater that could be pulled up over the lower half of the wearer’s face. It featured signature bright red lips associated with blackface as a cut-out for the mouth.
In Bizzarri’s original statement he apologized and said, “This is due to the ignorance of this matter,” the CEO explained.
That, however, was hard to believe because blackface controversies also exist in Europe.
In 2017, Italian comedian Gabriele Pellegrini, who goes by the stage name Dado, wore blackface in a performance that mocked African immigrants in Italy, Forbes reported. He dressed as a Black kebab seller—mimicking a broken foreign Italian accent—in his racist commentary on the influx of African migrants.
There’s also growing opposition in the Netherlands to Black Pete, the purported blackface assistant of Santa Claus who does the work of climbing down chimneys to deliver gifts. Much of the protest against Pete comes from Black residents who are forcing the Dutch to remember that their nation colonized people of color for more than three centuries and to acknowledge that the colonizer mentality persists.
It has been a rough Black History Month.