Luxury fashion brand Gucci has faced heightened scrutiny from both celebrities and ordinary shoppers earlier this week after complaints about a woman’s sweatshirt resembling blackface arose on social networking websites.
— What's Trending (@WhatsTrending) February 7, 2019
The “balaclava jumper”, priced at $890 (£688), features a cut out around the mouth surrounded with red lips which had been interpreted by many social media users as “haute-couture” blackface.
The item was described on the website as “Inspired by vintage ski masks, multicolored knitted balaclavas walked the runway, adding a mysterious feel to this collection,”
However, as a result of the massive outrage caused, Gucci has since removed the controversial item from its stores and website and has issued an apology as well.
— Blondiee (@CassieMariee_) February 7, 2019
“Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper.” Said the statement issued by Gucci on their official twitter account.
Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper.
We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.
Full statement below. pic.twitter.com/P2iXL9uOhs
— gucci (@gucci) February 7, 2019
Despite the brand’s attempt to reduce repercussions of the damage, it seems it is impossible for them to “get off the hook” and salvage their reputation this time without actual change.
Numerous celebrities, including BlacKkKlansman director and Academy Award Nominee Spike Lee, have opted to boycott Gucci in response and have revealed they would not wear any of the brand’s products until they and Prada, who faced a similar backlash last year, employ designers of color.
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I,Spike Lee Of Sound Mind And Body Will No Longer Wear Prada Or Gucci Until They Hire Some Black Designers " To Be In Da Room When It Happens". It's Obvious To Da Peoples That They Don't Have A Clue When It Comes To Racist, Blackface Hateful Imagery. WAKE UP. Ya-Dig? Sho-Nuff. And Dat's Da "Coonery And Buffoonery” Truth,Ruth.
“I, Spike Lee of sound mind and body will no longer wear Prada Or Gucci until they hire some black designers ‘to be in da room when it happens (sic)’,” posted the acclaimed director on Instagram.
Gucci still hasn’t responded to either Lee or any other celebs such as Soulja Boy, who also took to Instagram to express his anger.