Almost a year ago, Loewe's black and white striped pajama suit from the capsule collection dedicated to British ceramic artist William de Morgan went on sale. The design did not evoke any hard-hitting comparisons until the fashion industry justice Instagram account @diet_prada saw it in the uniform of Nazi concentration camp prisoners during World War II. "The collection offers" to show freedom of the imagination ", but with the characteristic proportions and arrangement of stripes and noticeable patches on the chest, there is simply no room for imagination," wrote the authors in a post that has received more than 47 thousand likes to date.
The brand's reaction was immediate: it removed photos of the suit from its website, removed it from sale and apologized to anyone who might think the company was "insensitive to sacred memories." “We noticed that one of our images was misinterpreted as referring to one of the most controversial moments in human history. This is not intentional,”- said in an official statement Loewe.
Balaclava by Nike
In 2018, Nike unveiled a collaboration with 1017 founder Alyx 9SM and current Givenchy Creative Director Matthew Williams. It included several sportswear in dark colors, including the balaclava, which was just beginning to acquire the status of a fashion accessory. Seeing the novelty, and then the lookbook, in which it was shown by the black model, social media users attacked the brand with accusations of propaganda of banditry and related racial stereotypes.
“Now Nike approves crime with the use of firearms and knives, and also imposes racial profiling (a situation in which law enforcement agencies bring charges based on race -). Well done, "wrote one Twitter user. “I think you made a big mistake by turning to the culture of banditry for profit. There are 100 parents of dead children that you should think about before doing this, let alone putting balaclavas up for sale,”said another. However, this did not stop retailers from selling the accessory. Nike itself has removed his photos from the official website.
Perhaps the loudest scandal involving a black model in the filming of the lookbook is associated with the Swedish mass market H&M. In early 2018, a photograph of a boy of African descent in a sweatshirt with the caption “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” appeared in the brand's online store. One of the first to notice the picture was New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, who saw racial discrimination in it and wrote on Twitter: "H&M, are you out of your mind?" The wave of outrage was picked up by the music artist The Weeknd, who previously worked with the brand, as well as performers G-Eazy, Pushha Tee, P. Diddy and other celebrities.
A barrage of criticism tried to stop the mother of a black boy, Terry Mango, who asked the public to stop "shedding crocodile tears" and "creating a scandal out of nothing." However, despite the lack of complaints from parents, H&M removed the photo from the site, removed the hoodies from sale, made an official apology, and was forced to close stores in South Africa and hire a "diversity specialist." “The recent incident was completely unintentional, but it showed us very clearly how great our responsibility as a global brand is. We asked for feedback from people inside the company and from outside. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is sincere, which is why we appointed an international manager in this area to take our work to the next level. "- reported the mass market in social networks.
Italian brand Prada went even further and at the end of 2018 announced the creation of a dedicated diversity council to “hear the voices of non-European peoples within the company and throughout the fashion industry”. The prerequisite for this was the accusations of racism due to the monkey key rings, which were included in the special Pradamalia collection. In the figures called Otto Toto, they saw signs of blackface - a make-up technique that in the 19th-20th centuries. used by comedians to create caricatures of blacks. “Pradamalia are fictional creatures that have nothing to do with the real world, let alone blackface. The Prada Group never intended to offend anyone, we hate all forms of racism and racist imagery,”the company said, promising to stop displaying and distributing key rings.
The Gucci sweater presented in the fall-winter 2018/19 collection was also considered a parody of blackface. This is due to the black color, collar with a slit for the mouth and a print with imitation of red lips. “Are you serious Gucci? Seriously?" - Twitter users were outraged, noting that the sale of such things is especially inappropriate in February, when the Month of African American History is celebrated in the USA and Canada.
“Gucci apologizes for the infringement of the wool balaclava sweater. We believe diversity is a fundamental value that must be fully supported, respected and taken into account in every decision,”the company responded to the allegations. A year later, she launched a special Instagram account @gucciequilibrium, highlighting Gucci's human rights and environmental projects.
Mules by Katy Perry Collections
The imitation of blackface also went to the American singer Katy Perry, who produces women's pumps, boots, sandals and mules under the brand name. On one of the Katy Perry Collections pairs, details in the form of eyes, nose and lips appeared, which initially referred to modern art and, in particular, surrealism, but were ultimately perceived as an insult to dark-skinned people. Despite the fact that the shoes came out not only in black, but also in beige.
Interestingly, the collection angered social media users only in 2019, six months after its release. Due to criticism, retail chains in the United States, including Dillard's and Walmart, which collaborated with the Katy Perry brand, were forced to withdraw the batch from sale, and the singer herself was forced to apologize in the media. “I was saddened to learn that shoe design has been compared to a painful way like blackface. We didn't want to hurt anyone,”she commented. “Okay, let’s remember the rule that any product, service or person who is not black will not create, promote or use any combination of“black + face”,” said Kim Creighton, a member of the anti-racist movement.
In 2019, Burberry model Liz Kennedy drew attention to the nautical knot drawstring hoodie, accusing the brand of promoting suicide. “There are hundreds of ways to tie a rope, but they decided to mimic the noose, completely ignoring the fact that it was hanging from the neck. A big brand like Burberry, which is usually considered commercial and classy, shouldn't have lost sight of such an obvious similarity,”the girl wrote under the photo of the hoodie on Instagram.
Despite the fact that many considered the accusation far-fetched, Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti apologized for the poor design and promised to remove the item from the collection. In turn, the creative director of the brand Ricardo Tisci said that he was inspired by the sea and did not even think of offending anyone.
In the same 2019, the Versace brand faced charges of harming the country's territorial integrity. He released a collection of T-shirts with the names of different cities, indicating Hong Kong and Macau not as administrative regions of China, but as separate states. Because of this, Chinese actress Yang Mi, who had recently become its ambassador, refused to cooperate with the company. Representatives of the star issued a statement that "some Versace clothing undermines the national sovereignty of China", which was supported by millions of Yang Mi's followers on the Chinese social network Weibo. The creative director of the brand, Donatella Versace, of course had to withdraw the T-shirts from circulation.
Louis Vuitton collection
Another luxury brand - Louis Vuitton - in 2019 canceled the production of not one item, but part of the seasonal collection presented in Paris and dedicated to Michael Jackson. Its release coincided with the release of Leaving Neverland, in which two men - Wade Robson and James Safechuck - first spoke openly about their childhood sexual harassment by a pop artist.
According to Virgil Abloh, creative director of the Louis Vuitton men's line, he did not know about the upcoming docudrama and when creating the collection relied only on his respect for the work of Michael Jackson. “I set out to show him as a pop culture artist. This only applies to his social life, as we all know, and his legacy, which has influenced an entire generation of designers, Abloh explained. - I know that in the light of this documentary, the show caused an emotional reaction. I strongly condemn any form of child abuse, violence or human rights abuses.”