Burberry’s chief designer Riccardo Tisci is apologizing for sending an insensitive design down the runway featuring a model wearing a hoodie with a noose around the neck.
What is going on with fashion houses putting out racially insensitive clothing designs lately? Burberry has become the latest label to debut a shocking style to have it met with widespread criticism. During London Fashion Week the iconic label, chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci — a close pal of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West — sent a design down the runway of his Autumn/Winter 2019 show on Feb. 17 featuring a model in a tan hoodie with a noose hanging from the neck. He’s since apologized, but not before one of the models in his very own show took him to task on Instagram, saying the outfit seemed to glorify suicide and was also highly offensive reminder of racist lynchings.
By Feb. 19, Tisci had deleted the photo of the design from his Instagram page, but not before model Liz Kennedy took him to task and the photo made the rounds on Twitter. “Ok, did you a**holes get together and ask, ‘How can we make this THE worst Black History Month ever? I mean let’s really f**k it up,'” comedian Wanda Sykes tweeted and fellow comic Whitney Cummings also found nothing funny about it. “Hey, fashion people. I’m just an unstylish comedian who doesn’t know anything, but maybe lay off the black face and nooses for a while? This is starting to feel like some weird bet about who can go out of business the fastest,” she tweeted.
T.I. took to Instagram to shame the brand, as he’s done after Gucci put out a sweater that resembled blackface, Moncler featured a jacket with a series of blackfaces on it and Prada put out trinkets of black monkeys that were labeled highly racially insensitive. He wrote “These aren’t coincidences. #🖕🏽Gucci#🖕🏽Prada #🖕🏽Moncler And now…. #🖕🏽BURBERRY,” next to a photo of the noose hoodie.
Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti and Tisci apologized for the design in a statement given to HuffPost UK. “We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection Tempest. Though the design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake.” Gobbetti said.
Tisci claimed that he didn’t realize at the time of the design that it would be views as highly offensive. “While the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive. It was never my intention to upset anyone,” he told the site, adding, “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.”
Ok, did you assholes get together and ask, “How can we make this THE worst Black History Month ever? I mean let’s really fuck it up.” https://t.co/fk3G864fR8
— Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) February 19, 2019
Model Liz Kennedy walked in the show and in a lengthy Instagram post on Feb. 17, said she was triggered seeing the design during fittings and that when she raised her concerns to people at Buberry, she was told,” “it’s fashion. Nobody cares about what’s going on in your personal life so just keep it to yourself.” “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,” she began her post.
“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,” she continued. “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.”
“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,” Liz added.