Add another “what were they thinking!!!” designer must-have to your Fall 2019 luxury shopping list. Insisting that the design was inspired by a marine theme that ran throughout the entire collection, Burberry agrees that their noose is easily understood as making both suicide and lynching fashionable. Given everything that’s happening around Gucci and Prada’s wild-side walk with blackface, it’s pretty incredible that these mishaps keep happening.
"We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection," Marco Gobbetti, Burberry chief executive officer, said in a statement provided to CNN.
The design was criticized by model Liz Kennedy, who wore it on the runway and claims that her expressed concerns about the noose were dismissed. Even wearing it during the show potentially put Kennedy in her own tough spot with social media. It was Kennedy who posted this message to Burberry on her Instagram:
@burberry@riccardotisci17Suicide 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.
Antonis Kousoulis, associate director of research at The UK's Mental Health Foundation, was also critical of the noose design concept, saying the incident demonstrated the need for fashion houses to examine their creative processes.
"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," Kousoulis said.
"I was glad to hear that the fashion house apologized and pulled the item, but, more generally, I would like to see more diversity in the creative process," Kousoulis added. "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."
The call for more diversity in the creative process is echoed by new developments at both Prada and Gucci to insure that such overtly historically racist references be at least addressed within the design team. These teams should be multicultural under the best of circumstances. But as a design head myself, it’s impossible for me to understand how white people live such culturally isolated, uninformed lives about race that they can’t see what is a blaring, racist bugle horn blaring before my eyes. These incidents would never have happened on my watch at Victoria’s Secret. ~ Anne