Gucci is facing intense backlash over an $890 sweater that has sparked accusations of racism.
The brand’s wool “Balaclava” sweater (a look inspired by the brand’s fall/winter 2018 runway show in Milan last February) features a turtleneck top that covers half the face and features large red lips printed around a mouth cut -out. The design has been checked by many for evoking racist blackface iconography. The Italian fashion house issued a statement on Twitter apologizing for the insensitive piece.
“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,” the brand shared.
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
Although the top has officially been removed from its shopping site and all of Gucci’s stores, many people are still outraged and have taken to Twitter to expressing their disappointment.
We have ONE month to celebrate the history of African Americans. Feb. 2019: Multiple accounts of politicians wearing blackface. And now news Gucci was selling a $890 blackface sweater. We are a nation desperately in need of diversity training. #gucci#BlackHistoryMonthpic.twitter.com/tHXEAP2pjN
This is not the first time a high-end brand has been called out for offensive imagery. Prada was just recently at the center of its own blackface controversy for releasing a product line of cartoon characters in December of 2018. The label also made the quick decision to pull the products and released an apology on Twitter: “Prada Group abhors racist imagery. The Pradamalia are fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre. They are imaginary creatures not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface. Prada Group never had the intention of offending anyone and we abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery.”
How does this keep happening with supposedly 'luxury' brands? No-one at Gucci clocked the similarity between the racist imagery of their $890 blackface jumper and Prada's keychain - the latter of which was pulled from stores less than two months ago? Or do they just not care? pic.twitter.com/pNxTbuJeXV