The chief executive and chief creative officer of luxury fashion powerhouse Burberry have apologised for putting a hoodie with strings tied in the shape of a noose on their London Fashion Week runway.
- Burberry’s creative director said the design was inspired by “a nautical theme”
- The jumper was part of a collection aimed at younger customers
- When Ms Kennedy first raised concerns she said she was told ‘it’s fashion’
The knotted strings surfaced after a show on Sunday (local time) when a model, who was not hired to wear the outfit, complained both before the show and on Instagram, saying the noose not only evoked lynchings but also suicide.
Marco Gobbetti, the brand’s chief executive, said in a statement on Tuesday that Burberry was “deeply sorry for the distress” the top had caused and had removed it from the autumn–winter collection, along with all images featuring the look.
Riccardo Tisci, Burberry’s creative director, also apologised, and said “while the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realise that it was insensitive”.
Model Liz Kennedy took to Instagram on the day of the show, posting a photo of the hoodie with a long message directed at Burberry and Mr Tisci.
“Suicide is not fashion,” she wrote.
“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. Let’s not forget about the horrifying history of lynching either.”
‘It’s fashion. Nobody cares’
She said she asked to speak to somebody about it and was told 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’.”
Mr Gobbetti said he called Ms Kennedy to apologise as soon as he became aware of her concerns.
“The experience Ms Kennedy describes does not reflect who we are and our values,” he said.
“We will reflect on this, learn from it and put in place all necessary actions to ensure it does not happen again.”
The gaffe comes after Gucci removed a sweater from the market last week after complaints that the oversized collar designed to cover the face resembled blackface makeup.
In December, Prada stopped selling baubles that also prompted complaints of racist imagery.
Those two companies have announced initiatives to foster cultural diversity and awareness among their employees to avoid future missteps.