Gucci apologizes after ‘blackface’ jumper backlash as Twitter users blast $890 ‘racist’ sweater

The Italian fashion house has issued an apology on Twitter after getting backlash all over social media for a “racist” balaclava sweater that, according to people, depicted blackface on its design.

Gucci has become the latest fashion brand getting accused of racism after putting on stores a wool sweater from the Gucci's Fall Winter 2018 line that, according to many social media users, resembled blackface makeup.

Gucci store in Toronto, Canada. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

Gucci store in Toronto, Canada. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

The oversized piece features a turtle neck that can be pulled up to the face to cover the nose, and it features a cut out for the mouth with big red lips around it. The sweater was ridiculed on Twitter, and many users immediately started slamming the brand for being insensitive and racist.

On Wednesday, Gucci released a statement saying they removed the $890 piece from all of their online and physical stores, and issued an apology for the offense.

The wool balaclava jumper that caused outrage on social media. | Photo: Gucci

The wool balaclava jumper that caused outrage on social media. | Photo: Gucci

“Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper," the company wrote on Twitter. "We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make."

The company also stated they would take the incident and turn it “into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond.”

However, people were not happy about the apology, with many people expressing their disbelief to the fact that the sweater was approved in the first place.

Gucci is not the first Italian brand facing racism accusations. Last December, Prada had to pull out of their stores a series of items from their Pradamalia line, after images surfaced of a storefront in Manhattan of monkey-like figures with black faces and big red lips.

While Prada said in a statement that the "imaginary creatures [are] not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface," and that they never had the intention to offend anyone, they ended up withdrawing the characters from display and circulation.

Swedish retailer H&M was also in the eye of the hurricane last year after sharing an ad of a black kid wearing a green hoodie with the message “Coolest monkey in the jungle."  The image sparked outrage among activists and celebrities, with people calling to boycott the brand altogether.

“We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print,” the company said in a statement. “Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally.”

Fashion brands keep making this kind of “mistakes” and getting away with it, something that most people said shows the lack of care and thought these big companies have when it comes to black people and what they could find offensive.  

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