Luxury fashion is all about breaking barriers, creating a new, irresistible message that captivates many creative minds. But some of the globe’s top brands have sparked curiosity within the people about their ideas.
The latest instance of that was Italian fashion designer Gucci, which produced a black wool balaclava sweater with a lengthy collar that pulls over the chin and nose. It includes a slit where the mouth is, ringed with what look like giant red lips. Its similarity to blackface prompted an instant backlash from the public and forced the company to apologize publicly late Wednesday. Prada similarly withdrew a monkey bag charm that recalled blackface in December, saying it “abhors racist imagery.”
“Luxury brands used to be able to get away with provocative and eccentric ads that push the boundaries of our society and culture in the name of being creative and cutting edge,” said Qing Wang, a professor of marketing at Warwick Business School. “However, a long list of recent incidents have caused public outrage, suggesting that era is now gone or that luxury brands have lost touch with public sentiment. What used to be considered “creativity” has now turned into “bad taste” or even “racist,” he said.
Big names such as Director Spike Lee, and known Atlanta rapper T.I, has encouraged multiple people of the black community, as well as other communities, to boycott the clothes brands that carelessly ignore the sensitivity that some designs may racially impose.