After several recent incidents of high-profile fashion brands showcasing racial insensitivity, British luxury fashion house, Burberry is yet another brand accused of crossing a major line. Fashion is often about taking risks, but Burberry concedes, it went too far until it showed off one of its latest items at London Fashion Week on Sunday: a hooded sweatshirt that featured, instead of the usual drawstrings, a rope tied into a noose. As per reports, the item was part of the brand’s fall/winter line and was designed by Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci.
Critics accused the British brand of glamorising suicide. The knotted strings surfaced after the show when a model Liz Kennedy, who walked in the Burberry show but did not wear the hoodie complained of being “triggered” by the hooded garment, both before the show and on Instagram.
She voiced her displeasure on her Instagram handle post which read, “@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 worldwide. 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.”
The collection, inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest, is Tisci’s second for the brand. The clothes were a mix of classic, severely tailored ensembles and more trendy street-inspired looks aimed at younger consumers.
After Kennedy’s post, two top Burberry executives issued statements of apology and removed the sweatshirt from the company’s collection.
Marco Gobbetti, the chief executive of the FTSE company, said in a statement on Tuesday that Burberry was “deeply sorry for the distress” the top had caused and had removed it from the autumn-winter collection, along with all images featuring the look.
Riccardo Tisci, Burberry’s creative director, apologised, saying “while the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive”.