Luxury brand Gucci has apologised for a black wool sweater that drew criticism for resembling a ‘blackface’ and said that the item has been pulled from its online and physical stores. Blackface is a form of make-up which was used by non-black performers in the 19th century to represent a black person.
Part of its Fall-Winter collection, the turtleneck balaclava sweater covers the nose and has a large mouth cover with big red lips on it and retails around $ 890 which is around Rs 63,332. In a statement posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Gucci said it was committed to diversity and considered it a ‘fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected and at the forefront of every decision we make’.
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
The knitwear was ridiculed on social media with people threatening to boycott the brand until they hired more people of colour.
“I am a Gucci fan, and I was going to buy a jacquard cardigan because it’s a forever piece, but until they and other luxury brands hire some people of colour to consider the imagery of items like the ‘blackface’ balaclava sweater… it’s a no for me,” one person wrote.
— Blondiee (@CassieMariee_) February 7, 2019
Soo @gucci decided to make #BlackFace the in thing so wypepo can wear blackface unapologetically with no backlash 🤨. Like let’s cut out the middle man (public apology) but it’s the thing to do pic.twitter.com/l74xbQe6Jp
— imjushereforthefunny (@MrsKimNay) February 7, 2019
In December, Prada said it was no longer selling a line of accessories that featured a character with brown skin and exaggerated red lips after complaints they resembled blackface.
And last year, Dolce & Gabbana cancelled a Shanghai runway show and apologised after complaints that an advertising campaign featuring a Chinese model trying to eat pizza, spaghetti and a cannoli with chopsticks was culturally insensitive.