Alongside Prada and Gucci's blackface scandals, major fashion brands have recently come under fire for making some major PC-related errors.
Burberry is the latest company to be added to this list of elite couture scandals, after their autumn/winter collection at London Fashion Week featured a hoodie with strings resembling a noose.
Yes, you read that right. An actual noose, akin to those used for lynchings or suicides. They really didn't think this one through…and now the model who wore the design down the runway has expressed her horror;
Liz Kennedy, turned to Instagram to illustrate her anger and disturbance after she was fitted wearing the hoodie, as suicide touches a personal nerve for her.
"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 wrote.
She stated that the Burberry team "briefly hung one from the ceiling (trying to figure out the knot) and were laughing about it in the dressing room. I had asked to speak to someone about it but the only thing I was told to do was to write a letter."
The brand released an apology statement following a huge wave of backlash after the runway show, and the design is now removed from the new collection.
According to Fortune, Marco Gobbetti, Burberry chief executive officer, said;
"We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection. I called Ms. Kennedy to apologise as soon as I became aware of this on Monday and we immediately removed the product and all images that featured it."
He continued, "Though the design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake."
The fashion faux pas follows Gucci's debut of a $890 balaclava sweater that evoked blackface images earlier this month.
1/3 Gucci’s first four initiatives in a long-term plan of actions designed to further embed cultural diversity and awareness in the company. pic.twitter.com/xMIMn9PNDR
— gucci (@gucci) February 15, 2019
Liz Kennedy also mentioned the impressionable young women who would see the noose hoodie;
"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."
"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," she said.
Kennedy also claims that she attempted to speak to someone about it, but was brushed off;
"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."
The collection, Tempest, is Riccardo Tisci’s second for the brand. Marco Gobbetti has since called Kennedy to apologise personally and address the situation.
In an updated post, Kennedy wrote;
"My family and I were recently impacted by suicide so I know how devastating it is when someone you love decides to take their life. I’m not someone who is easily offended or triggered but I knew by the way this piece effected me, it would do the same to many others."
She continued, referencing Marco Gobbetti, Burberry's chief executive;
"Whether people are dealing with suicide, mental illness themselves, or someone close to them facing these issues they can’t be taken lightly. Since my post, Marco called me to address the situation."
"I think the response by Burberry and their team since then is commendable. I believe this is a learning moment and they will think about these things more in-depth moving forward."
The model bravely spoke out about the incident, and the brand has responded. It just goes to show that fashion isn't completely rigid, and it's valuable to call them out on their mistakes.
"The positive that has come out of this is a reminder of the power of one voice, and the good that can be done when brands are held accountable."
Feature image: Adweek