As if the backlash Gucci recently received for its poorly-executed turtleneck that bears a resemblance to blackface wasn’t enough, Burberry decided to “one-up” the competition during a Fall/Winter 2019 runway show for London Fashion Week with its own insensitive ready-to-wear essential: a hoodie with drawstrings fashioned in the form of a noose. Yeah, that “WTF” expression on your face right now is our sentiments exactly.
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@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.
Called out originally via the Instagram of Liz Kennedy, a model that walked in the show and was reportedly rebuffed when she tried to call it out prior to showtime, this scandal is the latest in a clear example of high-end brands lacking diversity in the creative process. The symbol of a noose alone is almost always synonymous with suicide, and especially the lynching culture of America’s sordid days of slavery, so the inspiration Burberry was going for here is truly lost on us. Of course, an apology has been issued in response to the negative feedback the brand has been getting since the hoodie was first made aware, as seen below in this official statement by the brand’s chief creative officer:
“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.”
— Marco Gobbetti, CEO, Burberry (via CNN)
Famed CCO Riccardo Tisci also issued a response himself, stating, “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,” adding, “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.”
This isn’t the first time in recent months that Burberry has faced flack for their fashion choices. Just last summer, the brand came under fire (literally!) for choosing to burn unsold garments as a way to stop bootlegs from being made and to keep the Burberry name valuable overall. Unfortunately, stunts like that and the ordeal happening now are the perfect way to do the opposite by completely devaluing its legacy.
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