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Fashion brand Gucci has been forced to apologise after releasing a balaclava-style jumper which resembles 'blackface', according to the Evening Standard.

The black piece of attire was being sold as part of their Fall/Winter 2018 campaign, and covers the lower half of the face and red mouth cut-out.

The jumper has now been removed from sale, and the brand has issued an apology after facing massive social media backlash for the offensive material.

Their statement was released by a spokesman for the luxury fashion house, saying that they consider diversity a 'fundamental value' of their company and that the incident would be adapted into a 'powerful learning movement';

"Gucci deeply apologises for the offence caused by the wool balaclava jumper. We can confirm that the item has been immediately removed from our online store and all physical stores."

“We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make. We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organisation and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond," it concluded.

The description for Gucci's item originally read; 

“Inspired by vintage ski masks, multi-coloured knitted balaclavas walked the runway, adding a mysterious feel to this collection. This knit top combines the accessory with the ready-to-wear collection.”

Social media users managed to get screenshots of the $890 jumper before it was pulled, ironically noting that it was Black History Month.

One Twitter user wrote; “Haute Couture Blackface for the millennials?”

Gucci's problems with fashion mishaps is the latest incident in a number of racially-charged mistakes by designer fashion brands. 

Prada removed items last month over products which were also concerning for the public.

Feature image: India Today

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Amid shutdowns in commercial surrogacy programmes in some of Europe's most notable destinations, parents from abroad are turning their hopeful eyes to Ukraine. Would you?

While it’s rarely the first choice of any hopeful family, surrogacy can sometimes be the last viable option available to couples in need.

While contemporary medicine has be able to address a myriad of infertility issues, there are still some that are insurmountable. Leaving parents in need with few options.

Surrogacy is a hot debate in the media right now and has been for at least the last decade. Few countries have ideal legislation concerning the practice while others outright ban it.

Countries that were prominent for commercial surrogacy practices, such as India, Thailand, and Nepal, have closed extra national programmes due to reports of exploitation.

So where does that leave parents hoping to secure the future of their families? “Most of our clients are heartbroken when they come to us,” a spokesperson for a prominent multinational surrogacy company explains.

“Surrogacy is rarely anyone’s first choice, and the faith that the process requires is monumental.”

Dr. Rashmed Tounsend, has been working with the Valencia based company Ilaya since it’s advent in 2011. Ilaya services Ukraine surrogacy programmes but operates out of Spain.

“I think that most couples would prefer to work with a surrogate that was local to their home country, but due to legislation and cost, that option is largely unavailable to them," Tounsend tells us.

Ukraine has seen a surge in their surrogacy numbers since larger countries have been forced to ban the practice, but booming business hasn’t been enough to curb some couples concerns about exploitation and treatment of surrogate mothers.

Following the terrifying reports of the exploitative practices of surrogacy industry leaders, many intended parents hesitate to look abroad for their possible options. However, many are left with no choice.

With the rising costs of surrogacy programmes at home, or strict laws that don’t allow for a reliable avenue to pursue such procedures, families aren’t given many options.

The average cost for a surrogacy program in the US starts at around $90,000. Prices continue to rise should patients require multiple IVF attempts or run into other complications.

And that’s only if you live in a state where surrogacy is legal. “Couples from states that do not allow for surrogacy can see an increase in their total costs due to travel arrangements and necessities.” Tounsend reminds us.

For families from such countries as the UK or Australia, travelling to a country like the U.S. for surrogacy is completely out of the question, due to financial constraints.

This leaves these families searching for options that are closer and much less costly. “Ukraine then becomes a much more viable option, because it’s located in mainland Europe, so no specialised visas are required for travel.” Tounsend says.

Flights from the UK to mainland Europe can be obtained at a fraction of the cost of those to the US.

Surrogacy: The Only Choice for Some

Surrogacy in the Ukraine has been strictly regulated since 2000. Laws outlining the rights of intended parents, as well as setting parameters for who is eligible to become a surrogate, were set in place.

Largely due to this legislation, as well as having high standards for medical care, saw Ukraine sweeping up many families who were looking to secure a surrogate outside of their home country. However, these laws can be difficult to regulate properly.

There have been reports for surrogate mothers receiving less than ideal medical care, and being victims of obvious malpractice. One report mentions mothers being treated “like cattle” and mocked by doctors.

While officials stress that this is not the norm, whispers of malpractice and embryo swapping have also been heard, although are still unfounded as of yet.

While it may not be an easy choice to make for many couples, it is one that has provided positive results for many.

Health experts in Ukraine estimate that there are over 2,500 babies born to surrogates each year in their country, which makes them familiar with the practice.

They also offer novel medical techniques and incentives that are not seen in other countries, like an unlimited number of IVF attempts, and no age restrictions regarding gamete supplication from intended parents.

Surrogate mothers that are found eligible are set to earn well above what would be expected from a Ukrainian minimum wage.

However, commercial surrogacy abroad is still not risk free, and hopeful parents are urged to do thorough research before choosing a clinic to continue the procedure with.

Which continues to make the choice a difficult one for families who worry about more than just the financial costs of surrogacy.

“Ukraine surrogacy is just one of the options that we offer prospective parents. There are other avenues available to some couples.

While it’s not the first choice for many, it’s a choice that our clients are extremely satisfied with in the end. Ultimately, our goal is to provide safety and happiness to our clients and our surrogate mothers.

Whatever avenue is the best for all parties involved, is the one we pursue.” Tounsend says.

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As you've probably guessed before, we're obsessed with pizza.

From finding out the 'right' way to eat pizza, to it being used in cosmetics (yep), we've covered it all.

But, then comes the pizza that costs €1930. At nearly two grand, you'd think it would be the most exquisite pizza in the world… and it is, but would we eat it? Probably not.

Industry Kitchen in New York has created this deluxe pie which includes 24-karat gold leaves.

It comprises of stilton cheese from the UK, foie gras and truffles from France, caviar from the Caspian Sea and gold leaves from Ecuador.

Executive chef Braulio Bunay said that he wanted to create the pizza to attract wealthy people.

He told T&C: "It is the epitome of decadence. The pizza is extremely rich—if you're in the mood for a lavish meal, this is the pizza for you."

We have a feeling that even though it's sprinkled with decadent ingredients, we wouldn't give up our pepperoni and cheese.

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We like our clothes and shoes here in Shemazing! HQ, and we have to say that you can never beat a comfy pair of runners.

Well, saying that, we wouldn't even DARE pay $132,000 (€120,000) for them.

That's what this pair are going for… and to be honest, they just look like a basic pair of white shoes.

Look a little closer though, and you'll see that the running shoes are decked out with real diamonds and has 18-karat gold hardware around them. Like… what?!

The footwear are made by Buscemi, who boasts of luxury trainers.

According to Footwear News, they take 20 hours to make and are only available to the elite in New York.

Crazy or what?

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We know that money can’t buy style, but can it buy beauty? After reading about these super expensive beauty products, we’d love to give them a try (if we won the lotto, obviously), though we’re not convinced they’d be any better than our highstreet brands… If only we could afford to find out for sure!

Azature Black Diamond Nail Polish

$250,000 (about €192,951)

The thought of forking out a quarter of a million dollars for a bottle of nail polish gave us heart palpitations. It costs so much because it’s made of black diamonds apparently. Hmmm… we’ll stick with the glitter, thanks!

La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer Foundation

$195 (€150)

While this IS meant to be great foundation, unless it actually airbrushes our face, we won’t be shelling out for it anytime soon. Plus, experts say there’s no benefit to putting caviar on your face, because you can’t absorb nutrients through the skin. Just eat it instead!

Creme de la Mer

$150 (€115) per ounce

This stuff has a secret ‘miracle broth’ that’s meant to work wonders, but experts say that the reason people notice the effects of Crème de la Mer is because they make sure to use it every night since they’ve spent so much money on it. Also, they probably rub it in gently, rather than tugging and pulling at the skin like you might usually do.

Kanebo Sensai Collection, The Lipstick

$55 (€42.50)

Apparently the formula of this lipstick is based on Japan’s Koishimaru silk, but is that enough to convince you to part with that amount of money? We’d probably just end up losing it anyway – THEN how would we feel?

Jean Patou Joy Baccarat Pure Parfum

$1,500 (€1157)

This perfume is made by a flower that only grows for two weeks each year in Jean Patou’s fields. Over 10,000 blooms go into each bottle, so we can understand why this perfume is so expensive. 

 

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If you thought the water charges were bad, then feast your eyes on the $8 ice cubes from Glace Luxury Ice Co.

The company have created “a zero-taste(TM) profile ice which, unlike traditional ice products, allows the consumer to maximize the beverage experience”.

Hmm, we can’t remember if our average ice ever did anything other than maximise our beverage experience by making it nice and cold, but according to Glace:

“Traditional machine-ice, generally made with local tap water, may contain upwards of 150 impurities and carcinogens, resulting in poor tasting and potentially unhealthy ice.”

We’ll take their word for it….

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