Another fashion house has come under fire for a design many are calling racist.
During its recent show at London Fashion Week, Burberry showcased a hoodie with a rope around the neck that resembled a noose. Now the company is apologizing.
“We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection” Marco Gobbetti, Burberry chief executive officer, said in a statement to CNN. “Though the design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake.”
The show's designer, Burberry Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci, added, “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,” he continued. “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.”
Despite the apology, many criticized the piece online, calling it insensitive and ignorant.
I usually "attribute to incompetence rather than malice," but Burberry has me wondering if maybe some high end brands are actually deliberately trying to brand themselves as for-White-people-only-and-therefore-better when they release-and-promptly-drop a blatantly racist product.— Rachel (@dromitgrrl) February 19, 2019
We have reached a kind of horror film level compulsion at this point — racists can’t control their racism in a climate of emboldened racism. It has become involuntary. Burberry apologizes for hoodie with noose around the neck - CNN https://t.co/p0N6rfILDg— Rebecca Shuri She Ready Carroll (@rebel19) February 19, 2019
Yes, I’ve seen the hoodie that showed at Burberry with the noose around the neck. No, I won’t be discussing it. I’m not helping to push a viral moment for that brand by expressing outrage.— Shelby Ivey Christie (@bronze_bombSHEL) February 19, 2019
At this point, they are trolling us. pic.twitter.com/SGqAlqknRa
One of Burberry’s models, Liz Kennedy, even slammed the brand on social media. Although she was featured in the show that debuted the controversial garment, she said her concerns about the noose were dismissed.
@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. The issue is not about me being upset, there is a bigger picture here of what fashion turns a blind eye to or does to gain publicity. A look so ignorantly put together and a situation so poorly handled. I am ashamed to have been apart of the show. #burberry. I did not post this to disrespect the designer or the brand but to simply express an issue I feel very passionate about.
“Suicide is not fashion,” she wrote on Instagram. “It is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway.”
She said the imagery was triggering, because she has dealt with suicide within her family. She also mentioned the “horrifying history of lynching.”
“A massive brand like Burberry who is typically considered commercial and classy should not have overlooked such an obvious resemblance,” Kennedy continued. “I am ashamed to have been apart of the show.”
The controversy comes about two weeks after Gucci was condemned for a turtleneck sweater many said looked like blackface. While the company issued an apology, many celebrities, including T.I., Soulja Boy and Waka Flocka, called for a boycott.
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