Gucci’s “Balaclava” black sweater, which has a turtleneck top that covers half the face with bright red lips around a mouth cut-out, was sold online and in stores for $890. Social media users blasted the company, saying the sweater resembles blackface.
So @gucci puts out a sweater that looks like blackface……
On Black History Month….
And then issues an apology because they didn’t know that blackface images are racist.
Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) February 7, 2019
Gucci’s parent company, Kering, apologized and said this will be a “powerful learning moment,” and that they were “fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization.”
The C-suite of Gucci America is 100 percent white. The executive
team at Kering is 100 percent white and two-thirds male. They’ve never participated in the DiversityInc Top 50 competition.
Alessandro Michele, creative director, and also white, has “total creative responsibility for all of Gucci’s collections and its brand image,”
The sweater has officially been removed from its shopping site and all of the company’s stores.
On the “Promote Diversity”
section of their website, it states: “While Kering addresses the issue of diversity in all its aspects, particular emphasis is placed on advancing gender equality.”
The controversy over Gucci’s sweater comes the same week as Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s blackface photo on his medical school yearbook page surfaced, and Virginia’s attorney general admitted to wearing blackface in college.
Blackface, which perpetuates racism, originated in the mid-19th century.
Gucci claims, “We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make,” in their apology:
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
It is clear that people of color are not really a focus the internal mentoring program shows only one Black woman among a group of white people.
So where exactly is diversity at the “forefront of every decision”
Prada similarly withdrew a monkey bag charm that recalled blackface in December, saying it “abhors racist imagery.” Dolce & Gabbana pulled its “Slave sandal” in 2016, and cancelled its fashion show in China after racist remarks were made public.
Italian sociologist Michele Sorice at Rome’s Luiss university
said the use of blackface by Italian fashion houses shows “a mixture of good faith and ignorance,” and that Italian society wasn’t fully aware of the impact when using certain words and images.
Yeah, because racism is a U.S. thing …