I must confess, I don’t own one piece of Burberry. I’ve always been in love with the classic pattern and went into a store to look at the scarf everyone seems to have (real and faux), and cringed at the $750 price tag. This was years ago before Poshmark, Tradsey, The RealReal and other ways to buy designer for a fraction of the price. The main reason I didn’t buy it was I’ve had my eye on the Louis Vuitton scarf for a minute and if I’m dropping a large chunk of change on a scarf, it’s the Louis hands down. Another Burberry piece I’ve always loved is the trench. The secret signature design on the inside of the coat, the beautiful craftsmanship, the feeling that you’re wrapped in luxury….ahhhh. I had just started my consignment journey when a friend showed me the infamous picture of a model showcasing a noose with a hoodie.
I’m extremely confused. The London fashion house claimed the noose was part of a nautical theme, but seriously? I envision a group of designers, fashion editors, assistants and models averting their eyes too scared to say a word to the head designers or the CEO, Marco Gobbetti as they embarrassingly try to rationalize the design. Who can’t tell that’s a Bowline??? It’s so obvious.
Within a few design houses in the last month, there have been several fashion misses, which may be construed as “insensitive.” I’ve heard a few people argue that in Europe they don’t have the same fiery racial issues we have here in America, so it’s unlikely anyone at the table would look for racism in a design, which is clearly meant to inspire rather than offend.
No. Not acceptable. Trust me, I’ve been to quite a few places in Europe and racism is alive and well. The latest fiasco in the fashion world speaks to the non-diverse nature of the fashion world. Who’s at the table? Who’s on the team? Who are the designers, the editors? There were quite a few models who took to social media and were absolutely shook when they saw the noose. Naturally they were told to do their jobs and keep it moving. Many were triggered and honestly I don’t know what I would have done. Probably walked out, but then there goes your career. I didn’t actually watch the entire fashion show, but there were models who tweeted against Burberry afterwards, for what it’s worth.
In my mind, I KNOW before this concept even made it to the runway, somebody noticed something. That’s the sinister component of it all. I picture a sly smile as a feeling of triumph passes between two bigots. I just feel sick as the connotation of a hoodie and a noose goes unnoticed and makes its way out to the public. The blatant insensitivity is baffling and yet not at all surprising in the current climate we live in.
People are comfortable with their racism, and not afraid to be obvious about it. The atmosphere of hate is thick and murky. Adults scream at black children for cutting lawns and selling lemonade without a license, call the police when they don’t like where people of color are barbecuing and worse, protesters marched down a street in Virginia with tiki torches yelling about being replaced by Jewish people and killed an innocent woman, who was peacefully protesting. It starts by just being okay with the “little” things.
Unfortunately, your bland and pretentious apologies don’t cut it, Mr. Gobbetti. You would have to be an idiot not to recognize the obvious noose reference. As a matter of fact, you should feel ashamed to work in a place where no one noticed (or pretended not to).