Gucci issues apology following social media backlash over 'blackface' jumper
Luxury fashion house, Gucci, has issued an apology and discontinued selling a sweater after facing criticism that its design resembles blackface.
In a Twitter post uploaded yesterday, the Italian brand stated that it "deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper", which is black turtleneck which pulls up over the bottom half of the face, and features red lips around the mouth.
"We can confirm that the item has been immediately removed from our online store and all physical stores," Gucci continued in the statement. "We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond."
The jumper quickly incited a backlash on social media.
"Today Gucci released their Balaclava Knit Top. Sigh. Really Gucci? Really?" wrote one Twitter user, while another corroborated, "One day I am going to deliver a prolific dissertation on how it feels to live in a continuous cycle of disrespect as a black man. Gigantic brands like @gucci create offensive "fashion", quickly apologize, and then state, 'We did not know." I don't care. This is unacceptable."
Others pointed out that the jumper had been released during Black History Month.
While the jumper has been pulled from the Gucci website, it is still available for purchase on the retailer, Spring for $890 (£688), where it is part of the Fall/Winter 2018 runway show - "inspired by vintage ski masks".
"Multi-coloured knitted balaclavas walked the runway, adding a mysterious feel to this collection," details the product description.