Nationwide — Fashion brand Burberry has apologized for designing a hoodie with a noose around the neck which was showcased during its London Fashion Week show. The design, which received harsh criticism online even from one of the brand’s own models, has already been pulled out from the collection, the fashion house said.“We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection,” Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti said in a statement provided to CNN.
“Though [the] design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake,” he continued.
Liz Kennedy, the model who wore the hoodie on the show, was the first to express criticism about the noose. She said she tried to object on having the noose placed on her neck, but her concerns were just dismissed.“Suicide is not fashion,” Kennedy wrote on her Instagram post. “It is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway.”
Kennedy also noted the “horrifying history of lynching” associated with the noose. However, she claimed that some of the staff were even joking about the design before the show while the noose was hanging from the ceiling.
“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,’” she said.
The UK’s Mental Health Foundation also condemned the design and cited the need for fashion houses to be more careful and diverse in their creative process.
“It is disappointing to see this representation in our day and age considering how much ground we have covered in mental health in recent years,” said Antonis Kousoulis, associate director of research at the charity. “Highly influential global brands like Burberry certainly have a role to play in giving a voice to diverse views, respecting people with lived experience, and being role models.”
Meanwhile, Riccardo Tisci, Burberry’s chief creative officer and the designer of the A/W 2019 “Tempest” collection, apologized over the controversial design as well, saying he now realized it was “insensitive.”
“It was never my intention to upset anyone. It does not reflect my values nor Burberry’s and we have removed it from the collection. I will make sure that this does not happen again,” he added.