Gucci ‘deeply sorry’ for black balaclava jumper that ‘resembles blackface’
Gucci has apologised after an $890 jumper sparked outrage after hundreds of people claimed it resembles ‘blackface.’
A black balaclava knit jumper which was being sold as part of the Fall Winter 2018 season covered the lower half of the face and featured a red cut-out around the mouth.
Gucci has now removed the jumper from sale and apologised after the brand faced a huge backlash on social media from people who said the design was “completely unacceptable” and offensive.
A spokesman for the luxury fashion brand said they consider diversity a “fundamental value” of the company and said they would turn this incident into a “powerful learning moment”.
Gucci’s site previously read: “Inspired by vintage ski masks, multi-coloured knitted balaclavas walked the runway, adding a mysterious feel to this collection. This knit top combines the accessory with the ready-to-wear collection.”
The $890 jumper is no longer available for sale but was reportedly last on the brand’s site in January.
Scores of Twitter users shared screengrabs of the jumper online, with one person writing: “If you think this is an ‘oversight’ you’re sadly mistaken. Brands do s*** like this all the time.
“They give a tired apology then we continue to wear their clothes. Do you REALLY think not one person employed at Gucci saw this top and didn’t automatically think ‘blackface’?”
“THIS is blackface guys. Huge overdramatic red lips and a literal black face. This is DISGUSTING,” one person wrote, while another said: “They have a mask to match so you can have a chic classic black face moment without the mess of paint.”
“Haute Couture Blackface for the millennials?” another said as others speculated it was released for Black History Month.
One person said that if Gucci hires “more black people and cultivate an environment where people on all levels of the company feel comfortable to speak up incidents like this will be avoided.”
Posting their apology on Twitter, Gucci said they are “fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our
Their statement said: “Gucci deeply apologises for the offence 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 a 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 organisation and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond.”
Gucci’s troubles is the latest incident in a number of missteps by designer fashion brands.
In January, Prada removed items over similar concerns it had depicted blackface imagery in products which appeared to resemble black monkeys with large red lips.