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Fashion can’t seem to learn from its mistakes. Back in February 2018, dozens of iterations of the balaclava walked the @gucci runway in Milan. Based on vintage DIY knit ski masks, no one clocked them at the time for having any racist connotations…or maybe they went unnoticed among the layers and layers of styling. Rihanna even wore one version just a couple months later at Coachella. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Last night though, a knit black turtleneck balaclava with red cut-out lips resembling blackface that wasn’t on the runway, caught twitter’s attention…and Gucci’s almost immediately. Within a few hours, they pulled the sweater from sale and issued an apology. All things considered, it’s probably clear now that these brands are severely lacking the cultural context and knowledge to avoid these same pitfalls. If these global brands are serious about their commitment to increasing corporate diversity, it needs to happen at all levels and departments, not just the creative teams. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • #gucci #skimask #fashion #knitwear #blackface #blackhistorymonth #luxury #luxurybrand #europeanfashion #turtleneck #balaclava #diy #knittingpattern #vintageknitting #pinterest #pinterestfail #rihanna #milanfashionweek #mfw #mfwss18 #ss18 #dietprada
We have yet another fashion boo-boo today, this time from luxury brand Gucci. According to Diet Prada, they’re receiving backlash for “a knit black turtleneck balaclava with red cut-out lips resembling blackface.”
However, this isn’t the first time they released something like this. Except, no one called them out last time. In Feb. 2018, they had many versions of the balaclava. These were “based on vintage DIY knit ski masks, no one clocked them at the time for having racist connotations… or maybe they went unnoticed among the layers and layers of styling.” They also pointed out that even Rihanna wore one to Coachella last year.
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How did you find rihanna's festival style? I liked in general, but I will not say that I like the mask 🥀 . . . . . #rihanna #rihannacoachella #coachella #festival #festivalfashion #festivalstyle #accessories #fest #shooting #photooftheday #badgirlriri #badgalriri #rihannafan #coachella2018 #coachellastyle #musicfestival #dance #music #followme #artist #like #singer #festivalmakeup #california #palmsprings
Other might not think this is a big deal but netizens are saying otherwise. Many expressed their feelings on Twitter.
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
Why is it impossible for these labels to be fashionable without oppressing minorities? pic.twitter.com/Jz6eXaDwE8
— Kurt Wagner (@hoyadaddybb) February 7, 2019
Some also reminded everyone that this shouldn’t be happening, especially during Black History Month.
— John David Richardson † (@SaintJrich) February 7, 2019
Gucci did issue an apology but I don’t think that’s enough. Diet Prada added, “If these global brands are serious about their commitment to increasing corporate diversity, it needs to happen at all levels and departments, not just the creative teams.”
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
There are many reasons why these ignorant things keep popping up. One is because people don’t see their actions as being wrong another is that these brands don’t have a diverse set of people working for them. Either way, everyone is so sick of hearing about companies making these mistakes because they obviously could have been avoided.
Photo courtesy of Diet Prada’s Instagram account
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