By: Adebola Bamidele
Recently, the international brand Gucci went under fire for their release of a wool Balaclava Jumper sweater featuring a Caucasian model wearing the sweater slightly up to her nose with bright, red lips surrounding a slit where her mouth pokes through. It was quite obvious to many individuals that the piece of clothing was offensive because the sweater gave off the impression of blackface (makeup and materials used to make a nonblack performer play a black role). The clothing brand has recently apologized on its social media platform, but the picture has gone viral since its release date and has many individuals upset. While in the midst of trying to rectify their brand, Gucci posted a picture of a Black woman holding one of their purses above her head. Other brands in the past such as H&M and Prada have also undergone scrutiny due to their racial products.
It’s unsettling to know that there are individuals on the design team that sat around and decided to create a sweater with previous racial ties. Many African American celebrities have stepped forward and have stated that they will be boycotting designers that have incorporated racist elements in their brands. The same celebrities also are asking their fans and supports to buy from underrepresented designers that they believe are not offensive.
In the future, it would be good to see more diversity in the design planning room, that way more brands avoid having to deal with racial issues. It would also be nice to see more celebrities or individuals of influence who are courageous enough to call out brands they believe are discriminatory to their fans.