Burberry Apologizes After Sending a Noose Hoodie Down the Runway

Burberry is coming under fire after sending a “noose hoodie” down its Fall 2019 runway at London Fashion Week. The brand, along with its creative director Riccardo Tisci, is now apologizing for the deeply disturbing piece and removing it from the collection.

Model Liz Kennedy first called out the problematic sweatshirt on Instagram after voicing criticism of the piece backstage at the show. “Suicide is not fashion. It is not glamorous nor edgy,” she wrote before revealing her concerns were dismissed at the show.

“How could anyone overlook this and think it would be okay to do this especially in a line dedicated to young girls and youth,” Kennedy continued on Instagram, “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.”

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@burberry @riccardotisci17 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. 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. 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. A massive brand like Burberry who is typically considered commercial and classy should not have overlooked such an obvious resemblance. I left my fitting extremely triggered after seeing this look. 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. I had asked to speak to someone about it but the only thing I was told to do was to write a letter. 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. I did not post this to disrespect the designer or the brand but to simply express an issue I feel very passionate about.

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“I had asked to speak to someone about it but the only thing I was told to do was to write a letter. 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,'” Kennedy added.

The model also claims that staff were joking about the sweatshirt in the dressing room before the show, hanging a noose from the ceiling. After the piece caused major backlash online, her remarks led to an apology from the brand’s CEO and creative director. In a statement released to CNN, Marco Gobbetti, chief executive officer, said:

Riccardo Tisci, the brand’s creative director, also apologized, “I am so deeply sorry for the distress that has been caused as a result of one of the pieces in my show on Sunday.” The piece will also be removed from the collection.

Burberry’s offensive design comes just one week after Gucci received backlash for a turtleneck resembling blackface. The brand immediately issued an apology, pulled the product, and announced several initatives to increase diversity throughout the company.

Dapper Dan, a frequent collaborator of Gucci, spoke out about the brand’s mistake on Instagram. He revealed Gucci’s CEO, Marco Bizzarri, personally flew from Italy to meet with Dan and other community members in Harlem to discuss the issue. The meeting ended with plans to launch several diversity programs throughout the fashion house, including global and regional directors for diversity and inclusion, a diversity and inclusivity awareness program, and a multicultural design scholarship program.

With brands continually making “mistakes” in terms of race, what will it take for designers to finally start educating themselves on issues of racism and diversity in the year 2019?

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