At this point in life you should know what blackface is… we all have access to the internet and live in a society where information sharing is at its peak. Nothing goes unnoticed. So what I’m trying to understand are the excuses these famous brands have to use blackface in their fashion. This isn’t the first time that it has made an appearance, so surely at this point other brands would be cautious not to make the same mistakes moving forward. Right?
Apparently not! Gucci is the latest to pull, what I believe to be a marketing scheme in hopes of becoming the topic of discussion. There is no such thing as bad publicity as they say and with a “professional”, well paid and experienced team working at Gucci, everything that is produced from their products to what we see on adverts is all consciously done. The balaclava-style jumper that was retailed at £688 was of course immediately pulled off of the shelves and website, with an apology from the creative director soon to follow. The jumper which was created solely in black with a red lip, might have been excusable if it was made in a variety of colours. There then would’ve been room for some kind of pardon. Alessandro Michele had stated that “it completely wrong. There is no excuse nor apology that can erase this kind of insult… I will hold everyone accountable.” He then went on to say “We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected and at the forefront of every decision we make,”. Now with Gucci being based in Italy (as it is an Italian brand) I am wondering as to how diverse of a team they have at their head office. The lack of diversity within a team is an element that will clearly resonate throughout their products and advertising with the intention of targeting a specific demographic. Now this is all based on assumptions and googling some names to see who’s in charge of certain departments… but fundamentally this is an aspect that will be apparent. The same way that Virgil Abloh, the first black creative director of Louis Vuitton has now made an impact with being able to call the shots of the creative direction they head in. They won’t be making these mistakes as they have someone who not only has the experience to work in the position of a creative director, but also can cater to a demographic which has been overlooked for far too long.
Previously we have seen Moncler, H&M, Prada and even The Katy Perry Collection all making mistakes, which should not be happening at all at this point in time. It’s 2019 and everyone plays the part of being empathetical and understanding the race issue thats still so prominent, but seems to be lacking common sense when trying to business decisions. It simply has to be put down to ignorance or ignorance!! This is why I believe that it is done knowingly, as all they have to do is sacrifice a single product, deal with some temporary hysteria and then keep it moving. I say this going off of what has happened in previous situations. At the peak of the frenzy, they will simply remove the single item that caused the initial issue, to then put out an apology on twitter, to finally.. well, carry on as they were. If the excuse from individuals is that it wasn’t their intention or that’s not how they saw it, then they really need to have a better understanding of race and culture and the history of minority racial groups and how they have been mocked within society throughout history.
Today people are so fickle that as soon as something new and controversial comes along, we forget about these HUGE fuck ups completely and just focus on what is in front of us. There needs to be a collective movement in not buying into these brands for the sake of ‘fashion’ and actually stand by our ethical values. After H&M made their mistake in 2018, people have continued to buy into their brand. We’re all guilty of giving companies a pass for the sake of our own desires. We really haven’t come as far as we like to think when it comes to standing against racism and discrimination, but what we can do individually that will have an impact collectively is to not to continue buying into these brands. An apology at this point is not a good enough reason for us to forgive and forget and the only way companies will learn, is if they cancelled all together. Not buying any Gucci for 3 months is not taking a stand, so to whoever pitched that idea needs to get cancelled too. On the plus side, many celebrities have made a point by publicly voicing their opinions on this subject and are making a difference by explaining to their viewers why they shouldn’t buy into the company. I mean 50 Cent has the right idea… he’s basically burning and giving his Gucci items to the homeless. Maybe not via 50’s tactics, but by having these big voices publicly take a stand against being ridiculed is really what we need. It really is the only way to let these companies know that they can’t be absent minded and disrespectful when it comes to mocking racism. Get your Gucci flip flops in the BIN!