Getty ImagesJohn Phillips/BFC
There’s a growing pool of luxury brands that have come under fire for major missteps, including back-to-back blackface controversies from Prada and Gucci. You can now add Burberry to the list. Riccardo Tisci debuted his Burberry autumn/winter 2019 collection at London Fashion Week, and it a hoodie with strings that resembled a noose around the neck.
Liz Kennedy, the model who wore the design down the runway, turned to Instagram to express her frustrations and recalled how disturbed she was during the fittings, as suicide hits close to home for her.
“Suicide is not fashion. It is not glamorous nor edgy and since this show is dedicated to the youth expressing their voice, here I go. Riccardo Tisci and everyone at Burberry it is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway,” she wrote. Kennedy claimed that the Burberry team “briefly hung one from the ceiling (trying to figure out the knot) and were laughing about it in the dressing room. I had asked to speak to someone about it but the only thing I was told to do was to write a letter.”
Following the wave of backlash after the Burberry runway show, the brand released a statement apologizing for debuting the hoodie and has removed the design from the new collection.
“We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection,” Marco Gobbetti, Burberry chief executive officer, said per Fortune. “I called Ms. Kennedy to apologize as soon as I became aware of this on Monday and we immediately removed the product and all images that featured it. Though the design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake.”
Burberry’s latest fashion faux pas comes on the heels of Gucci’s recent blackface controversy. Earlier this month, Gucci debuted a $890 balaclava sweater that evoked blackface images. Gucci removed the sweater and reached out to Dapper Dan, who worked with the brand on his own capsule collection last year, to come to an understanding. The result? A plan to launch “four initiatives in a long-term plan of actions designed to further embed cultural diversity and awareness in the company,” the brand announced on Twitter.