Burberry has been forced to apologise after one of its Autumn/Winter 19 garments appeared to resemble a noose knot. Creative director Riccardo Tisci sent a caramel hoodie down the runway as part of his “Tempest” collection – a polarising offering which possibly represented Britain’s duelling political landscape but probably was the Italian designer’s attempt to bring the brand’s stodgy history into the zeitgeist.
Shown at the Tate Modern in London, the particular item only really drew criticism when a model who walked in the show posted the hoodie in question to her Instagram. Liz Kennedy – who wore a different look – questioned how a garment which resembles that of a suicide tool made it past the powers that be at Burberry.
“Suicide is not fashion,” she began. “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.”
Social media supported Kennedy’s post so much so that Burberry have since apoligised for “the distress that has been caused.” “The experience Ms Kennedy describes does not reflect who we are and our values,” said Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti.“We will reflect on this, learn from it and put in place all necessary actions to ensure it does not happen again.”
Tisci added “While the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realise that it was insensitive”.
It’s not unusual for designers to be picked up on seemingly insensitive designs. Last week, Gucci had to remove a sweater from the market after complaints the design resembled blackface makeup.
In December 2018, Prada were forced to apologise for “racist” monkey figurines, with social media likening the little keyring to caricatures historically used to dehumanise black people.
Stella McCartney was accused of exploiting African culture with the designer’s use of an Ankara print in her Spring 19 show in Paris in September.
But this one has to take the cake. In 2012, Adidas had to cancel the release of a sneaker designed in collaboration with Jeremy Scott because many said it’s plastic shackles disrespectfully resembled slavery.