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.
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.