Burberry Apologizes for 'Insensitive' Noose Accessory on Sweatshirt Modeled During London Fashion Week
By Paige Gawley
Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP
Burberry is apologizing after using a noose as an accessory in its Autumn/Winter 2019 collection.
During London Fashion Week earlier this month, Burberry showcased a model wearing a tan hoodie with its strings tied in the shape of a noose. The sweatshirt has since been removed from the brand's collection and its CEO, Marco Gobbetti, said he's "deeply sorry for the distress" the accessory caused.
Riccardo Tisci, Burberry's creative director, also apologized for the design. "While the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive," he said.
Liz Kennedy -- a model who walked in Burberry's show, but did not wear the item in question -- took to Instagram following the fashion show to call out the brand and designer.
"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," she wrote. "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," Kennedy continued. "A massive brand like Burberry who is typically considered commercial and classy should not have overlooked such an obvious resemblance."
Kennedy said she left her fitting feeling "extremely triggered" after seeing the look and "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," she revealed. "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," she wrote. "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."
Kennedy finished her post by saying she was "ashamed" to have taken part in the show. "I did not post this to disrespect the designer or the brand but to simply express an issue I feel very passionate about," she said.
Though they did not wear the hoodie, both Gigi Hadid and Irina Shayk also walked in Burberry's show. Hadid gushed about participating in her first Burberry show, while Shayk called the collection "flawless."
Burberry's apology came after another brand, Gucci, removed a sweater from its shelves after many complained that it resembled black face. Gucci "deeply" apologized for the "offense" the sweater caused.
"We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make," they said in a statement. "We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond."
Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper. We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make. Full statement below. pic.twitter.com/P2iXL9uOhs
Additionally, Katy Perry has come under fire as of late for releasing shoes on her fashion label that resemble black face. The shoes have since been pulled from the label's website. In a statement to ET, Perry and her brand management company, Global Brands Group, explained the intention behind the design.
"The Rue and The Ora were part of a collection that was released last summer in 9 different colorways (black, blue, gold, graphite, lead, nude, pink, red, silver) and envisioned as a nod to modern art and surrealism," the statement read. "I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface. Our intention was never to inflict any pain. We have immediately removed them from KatyPerryCollections.com."
Watch the video below for more on Perry's shoe controversy: