20th Feb 2019
British fashion house Burberry has issued an apology for featuring a hoodie with a noose around the neck at their London Fashion Week AW19 show.
The show, which took place on Sunday, was heavily criticised on social media by onlookers and even models who walked the show. Model Liz Kennedy, who took part in the show, chastised the brand in an Instagram post writing: “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.”
Related: The standout moments from London Fashion Week
The model said that it was insensitive of the brand to put forward such a design in a collection which was directed at young girls — a demographic which already has a high rate of suicide. Having experienced suicide in her own family, she said she felt “triggered” at the fitting after seeing the design and asked to speak to someone about it but was told to write a letter instead.
She continued: “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 a part of the show.”
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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 (even though I did not wear it myself). 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.
CEO of Burberry Marco Gobbetti said the brand was “deeply sorry for the distress” and added that the design (which the brand says was inspired by the marine theme which ran through the collection) was “insensitive and we made a mistake.”
Designer Riccardo Tisci also apologised and said that “while the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realise that it was insensitive”.
Related: Irish designer Richard Malone delivers an exciting AW19 collection at LFW
The hoodie has since been removed from the collection, which was called ‘Tempest’.
This is the latest in a string of criticisms over insensitive designs which have hit fashion designers in recent weeks. Gucci recently pulled a jumper which was criticised for resembling blackface and Katy Perry removed two designs from her shoe range which were seen as racist.
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