The fashion industry is constantly wrought with controversy. From stealing ideas to lack of inclusivity, there’s always something awry in the style scene. This time, major luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana are the ones facing the backlash. The brand was set to have a huge runway show in Shanghai, China but it was canceled last minute by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Shanghai.
Why? The brand released a promotional video for the show on the Chinese social network Weibo. It was quickly deemed to be racist.
The video shows a Chinese woman struggling to eat a cannoli with chopsticks. The video’s narration is fraught with innuendo and, as explained by the Diet Prada Instagram post, it is littered with stereotypes. Immediately, commenters pointed out the racism of the video. Dolce & Gabanna quietly took down the promo, most likely hoping for the controversy to quietly resolve itself. They even had a few supporters defending the promo, saying that they didn’t believe it to be racist. But, it wasn’t long until things got that much worse for them when private messages from Stefano Gabanna, co-founder of the fashion house, surfaced.
In the messages, Gabbana claims the video is “a tribute” to Chinese culture. But, he goes on to say that China is “the country of poop” and is that Chinese people are an “ignorant dirty smelling mafia” who “eat dogs.” It’s pretty safe to say that these messages reflect an incredibly racist mindset. These messages only served to increase the anger toward Dolce & Gabbana which ultimately led to the cancellation of their show. In response to the cancellation, they issued a statement.
The statement is centered around the claim that the brands official Instagram account as well as the account of Stefano Gabbana were hacked. They claim that the hackers were the people behind the offensive content. The statement continues by saying that the goal of the show was to celebrate their “love and passion for China.” They lament the cancelation of the show and “express gratitude” for their supporters. They also posted an apology to Weibo.
It was not until two days later, after more outcry, that the brand released a continuation of the statement on their Instagram simply saying “Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana apologize.”
What do you think? Were the accounts hacked or is that just Dolce & Gabbana’s way of covering up for their controversial content? Is the original promo racist or is it being blown out of proportion, as some Instagram users have said? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!