What is wrong with fashion companies and their insensitivity to Black Americans? Just a short time ago, Gucci faced fire and criticism for advertising a sweater using Blackface. This week it’s Burberry, which sent a model down a runway wearing a noose. The design house said it was going for a nautical theme, but admits it “made a mistake,” reports the Huffington Post.
It happened during London Fashion Week on Sunday. Of course, social media went bonkers, with criticism coming from mental health advocates among other users. The horrifying item made from the drawstrings of a hooded sweatshirt was criticized by model Liz Kennedy. Kennedy walked in the Burberry show and wrote a now viral Instagram post about the item on Monday, alongside three pictures of the noose. One of the pictures was a screenshot taken from Burberry’s chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci’s Instagram about the Autumn/Winter 2019 collection, which has since been removed.
“Suicide is not fashion,” Kennedy wrote in her post, pointing out that impressionable youth, rising suicide rates and the “horrifying history of lynching” should be enough to stop a brand from presenting something that resembles a noose. Kennedy also said that she was “extremely triggered” by the noose as she’s experienced suicide in her family. “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,” she said.
Kennedy says she attempted to speak with someone about the item after a fitting, but says she was asked to write a letter instead. “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,’” she added. Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti and Tisci apologized for the item in a statement provided to Huffington Post.
“We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection Tempest,” Gobbetti said. “Though the design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake.” Tisci echoed Gobbetti’s thoughts, saying he was “deeply sorry for the distress. While the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive,” he said, adding that 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.”