Burberry and its chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci have apologized for the “distress caused” by a new hoodie with a drawstring resembling a noose. The piece has also been pulled from the brand’s FW19 runway collection.
Model Liz Kennedy, who worked on the label’s London Fashion Week show this weekend, posted images of the hoodie on Instagram and, in the caption, called out the brand for glamorizing suicide. “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. 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.”
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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.
In a statement to Highsnobiety, Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti responded, “We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection Tempest. I called Ms. Kennedy to apologize as soon as I became aware of this on Monday and we immediately removed the product and all images that featured it.
“Though the design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake. The experience Ms. Kennedy describes does not reflect who we are and our values. We will reflect on this, learn from it and put in place all necessary actions to ensure it does not happen again.”
Tisci added in a statement of his own, “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. While the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive. It was never my intention to upset anyone. It does not reflect my values nor Burberry’s and we have removed it from the collection. I will make sure that this does not happen again.”
In September 2018, it was reported that official figures show a growing number of teenagers in England and Wales are committing suicide. The figures added to ongoing alarm regarding the state of young people’s mental health.
The noose scandal is the latest in a string of ill-judged incidents involving luxury fashion brands. Gucci recently apologized for an $890 sweater that was said to resemble blackface before pulling it from stores worldwide. And in November, Dolce & Gabbana postponed a fashion show in Shanghai after accusations of racism.