Following the debut of its Fall/Winter 2019 collection presented at London Fashion Week, Burberry has received criticism for unveiling a problematic design. The piece in question is a hoodie which was constructed with strings along the front resembling a noose. Since the entire look went down the runway, the British fashion house has released an official apology.
In a statement shared with CNN, Marco Garbetti, Burberry CEO stated the following:
“We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection. Though the design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake.”
The hoodie first was thrust into the public eye after model Liz Kennedy, who also walked in the show posted an image of the design on her Instagram. In the caption which followed, she expanded on how the look was “ignorantly put together,” she also shared that upon seeing it she was “extremely triggered.”
The Instagram caption went on to read:
“How could anyone overlook this and think it would be okay to do this especially in a line dedicated to young girls and youth. The impressionable youth. Not to mention the rising suicide rates world wide. Let’s not forget about the horrifying history of lynching either.”
After attempting to speak with someone about the look after seeing the piece, she allegedly was told to “write a letter.” She also alleges she was told: “It’s fashion. Nobody cares about what’s going on in your personal life so just keep it to yourself.”
Following Liz’s Instagram post and social media commentary, Burberry immediately pulled the hoodie from production and removed the imagery associated with it.
Burberry joins the ranks of luxury fashion houses that are currently looking to speak out about pieces which have been viewed as problematic. Gucci’s balaclava incident and Prada’s distasteful monkey keychain are two incidents which have been pushed into the forefront of social media and real-life conversations.
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@burberry @riccardotisci17 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. How could anyone overlook this and think it would be okay to do this especially in a line dedicated to young girls and youth. The impressionable youth. Not to mention the rising suicide rates world wide. Let’s not forget about the horrifying history of lynching either. There are hundreds of ways to tie a rope and they chose to tie it like a noose completely ignoring the fact that it was hanging around a neck. A massive brand like Burberry who is typically considered commercial and classy should not have overlooked such an obvious resemblance. I left my fitting extremely triggered after seeing this look (even though I did not wear it myself). Feeling as though I was right back where I was when I was going through an experience with suicide in my family. Also to add in they 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. I had a brief conversation with someone but all that it entailed was “it’s fashion. Nobody cares about what’s going on in your personal life so just keep it to yourself” well I’m sorry but this is an issue bigger than myself. The issue is not about me being upset, there is a bigger picture here of what fashion turns a blind eye to or does to gain publicity. A look so ignorantly put together and a situation so poorly handled. I am ashamed to have been apart of the show. #burberry. I did not post this to disrespect the designer or the brand but to simply express an issue I feel very passionate about.
So one of the models from my agency was the one who broke the story regarding @Burberry and the noose jumper on @lappthebrand as she complained to them before walking the show. Her brother sadly committed suicide, do you know how triggering that is? https://t.co/I5KaaGHBDa
— l. anderson (@Leomie_Anderson) February 20, 2019
This shit is for attention.
There’s no fathomable way that fashion pulls from art and culture, yet is completely oblivious to triggering symbols. When will this mess end?https://t.co/8ZLHx2e4vf
— Dani Kwateng-Clark (@danikwateng) February 19, 2019
Gucci last week.
Now Burberry this week.
All of these racist fashion trends during #BlackHistoryMonth isn’t a coincidence.
They are begging for relevance.
Ask yourself when was the last time Burberry trended worldwide?
Just shop from talented Black designers.
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) February 19, 2019