Milan-based luxury label Gucci quickly responded today (February 7, 2019) with an apology to complaints about a black, balaclava sweater detailed with over-sized red lips, which are commonly associated with racist blackface symbols.
Images of the item began circulating on Twitter last night where multiple people weighed in, including Kehlani, who suggested the issue reflects a design team lacking consciousness. She wrote, “so..when things like this happen..and it runs by the entire teams of people. EVERYONE just AGREES that this is a good idea? no objections??? lawd.”
The Milan-based company issued a statement that read: “Gucci apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper. We can confirm that the item has been immediately removed from our online store and all physical stores. We consider diversity to be fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make. We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond.”
Just last month, Prada, also a Milan-based luxury label, was also called out for merchandise featuring a monkey detailed with over-sized red lips that was also viewed as mimicking blackface. Prada also issued an apology and removed an apology.
Gucci also ran into issues two years ago when it showed a near duplicate of a leather jacket designed by Harlem-based designer Daniel Day, better known as Dapper Dan. Gucci at the time acknowledged the misstep and turned lemons into lemonade by reaching out to Day, a connection that led to a series of collaborative efforts, including a Harlem atelier directed by Day.
Check out Gucci’s apology below as well as Kehlani’s now-deleted Tweet.
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