Another high fashion retailer has come under fire for using racist imagery in its designs.
This time, a hoodie with a noose on it showed up on the Burberry runway in London over the weekend.
Attention on the noose, which was presented as part of a hoodie/coat combo, was heightened when model Liz Kennedy—who saw the piece during a fitting but was not asked to wear it—called out the label for evoking suicide for the sake of fashion.
“Suicide is not fashion,” Kennedy wrote in a lengthy Instagram caption in which she tagged both the official Burberry account and that of current chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci. “It is not glamorous nor edgy and since this show is dedicated to the youth expressing their voice, here I go . . . [I]t 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.”
Now, the brand has responded to criticism of the noose piece with public apologies. The piece, which Tisci says was inspired by a nautical theme, has also been confirmed as being removed from the collection.
“I am so deeply sorry for the distress that has been caused as a result of one of the pieces in my show on Sunday,” Tisci told Highsnobiety. “While the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive. It was never my intention to upset anyone. It does not reflect my values nor Burberry’s and we have removed it from the collection. I will make sure that this does not happen again.”
In a separate statement, brand CEP Marco Gobbetti said he had spoken with Kennedy and reemphasized that the brand was “deeply sorry” for the distress.
We’ll add Burberry to the boycott list.
View this post on Instagram
@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.