Gucci is currently facing (deserved) backlash over a sweater in its winter collection that many claim features racist imagery. The sweater in question is the Balaclava knit top that was being sold for a whopping $890. The sweater features an elongated black turtleneck meant to cover the lower half of the face and includes an opening for the mouth. The opening is highlighted by what look like large red lips—a defining trait of stereotypical Jim Crow-era blackface.
The luxury Italian fashion label released an apology yesterday, February 6th, and has removed the sweater from their stores and website. They claim they are now “committed to increasing diversity throughout [their] organization.”
The fashion label called the incident a “learning moment.” However, not everyone feels like the apology is enough, or even gets to the heart of the issue.
Gucci isn’t the only luxury fashion company to “mistakenly” bring blackface back into the mainstream. Prada released problematic keychains and window displays in December 2018 that depicted dark monkey figurines with large red lips.
And Dolce & Gabbana came under fire in November 2018 for releasing an insensitive and offensive ad in China. Dior and Jennifer Lawrence were also accused of culturally appropriating escaramuza charra culture and clothing in their fall-winter 2018 fashion collection.
All of these issues would likely be avoided by fashion houses doing one simple, necessary thing: increasing diversity among their staff.
It’s 2019, and we are so done with this.