Cancel culture is alive and well, and fashion brands have been one of its biggest targets.
Last week, Italian luxury fashion house Gucci became the target of a Twitter tirade after a black knitted turtleneck balaclava with red cut-out lips was spotted on their website. The piece was deemed to be reminiscent of racist blackface imagery.
The Italian label quickly pulled it from sale and issued an apology—but not before its creative collaborator Dapper Dan spoke out to express his commitment to holding those in charge accountable. The Harlem designer took to his Instagram, saying “there is no excuse nor apology that can erase this kind of insult” before announcing an upcoming meeting with Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri.
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A few days later, the company issued a statement announcing new initiatives to encourage diversity and help prevent such incidents from reoccurring with a newly created role of Global Director for Diversity and Inclusion. Along with the new position, the fashion house has also committed to shifting its focus to educational programs, with a Multi-Cultural Design Scholarship Program to be implemented in fashion schools in Harlem, Nairobi, New Delhi, Beijing, Hangzhou, Seoul, Tokyo, Beirut, London and Dubai.
Creative director Alessandro Michele will also handpick five new designers from around the globe to join his Rome design team.