Gucci comes under fire for sweater resembling blackface

The fashion giant has since issued a "deep apology."

February 7, 2019

It’s no secret that the world of high fashion has a tenuous relationship with representation and diversity, which makes the shock of Gucci’s latest fumble all the more palatable. Earlier this week the fashion company revealed a knit turtleneck-balaclava combo that, though on paper sounds like an item of wearable winter efficiency, in practice and picture reveals a new degree of ignorance and oversight that people online were quick to point out:

The black pullover, with large red lips covering the bottom half of the model’s face, is not-so-subtly reminiscent of blackface in a way that the company should be held accountable for being aware of – especially considering the product launched just in time for Black History Month.

In response to the near-immediate backlash, Gucci removed the sweater from all online and physical stores in addition to releasing an apology which stated that the company considers “diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.”

Despite the company’s efforts to right their wrongs and restate their commitment to diversity, many called out the whole fiasco as stemming from larger problems of ignorance within the company that a simple apology cannot address:

Though the jury’s still out as to whether or not the sweater is a cynical PR move or a product of cultural ignorance, both scenarios still point back to a company profiting off of a long history a racial violence (at the absolute most inappropriate time of year to do so). Do better, Gucci.

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