Gucci has withdrawn a black balaclava sweater from its stores after it drew backlash on social media where people compared it to blackface imagery.
The sweater was a $890 “knit top” from Gucci’s 2018 “Fall Winter” collection featuring a black roll neck with large red lips encircling a hole for the mouth.
The garment first debuted during the Fall/Winter 2018 runway show was widely derided, with many pointing to the fact that it was released during Black History Month. According to product information archived online, it drew inspiration from “vintage ski masks, multicolored knitted balaclavas walked the runway, adding a mysterious feel to this collection.”
“Fashion can’t seem to learn from its mistakes,” the popular Instagram account Diet Prada wrote. “If these global brands are serious about their commitment to increasing corporate diversity, it needs to happen at all levels and departments, not just the creative teams.”
The Italian fashion house has since apologized on Wednesday.
“Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper,” the company wrote in a statement. “We can confirm that the item has been immediately removed from our online store and all physical stores.”
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Gucci is not the only luxury fashion brand to come under fire lately.
In December, Prada withdrew several figurines after social media users like Chinyere Ezie, a civil rights attorney and activist noted that they drew upon racial stereotypes. And in November, Dolce & Gabbana postponed a fashion show in Shanghai after a promotional video appeared to mock a Chinese model eating pizza and pasta with chopsticks.