Gucci ‘Blackface’ sweater and Adidas sneakers pulled from sale after outrage
By Maurice “Mo” Barnes , Senior Contributor @Mo Barnes,| Enterprise
There is something deeply disturbing about decisions to market particular items during Black History month by two of the words top clothiers. Italian fashion powerhouse Gucci and Adidas have become embroiled in racially insensitive marketing for online items.
Gucci perhaps created the most outrageous online item with what is described by the company as a “wool balaclava jumper” that had a price tag of $89O. The problem with this sweater is that part of clothing features a cut out for the mouth with big red lips, making the wearer appear in blackface. This highly racially offensive imagery somehow escaped the collective mind of the fashion experts at Gucci, who decided there was nothing wrong. That error in judgment cost the company dearly in negative comments from social media users and international negative publicity.
In response, Gucci removed the offensive item from its online catalog and issued an apology. The company posted the following to its Twitter account on late Wednesday Feb. 6, 2019, “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.”
For Adidas, there cultural insensitivity came out of an attempt to actually honor Black History. The company designed an all white running shoe called “Uncaged” in the thought it would honor the Harlem Renaissance period of Black culture. In the 1920s, the Harlem section of New York center became an epicenter of Black creativity and thought. The reaction from #BlackTwitter when images hit the web were brutal and swift. So much so that Adidas was forced to pull the sneaker from sale and issue an explanation and apology.
Adidas released the following statement that reads in part “Toward the latter stages of the design process, we added a running shoe … that we later felt did not reflect the spirit or philosophy of how Adidas believes we should recognize and honor Black History Month. After careful consideration, we have decided to withdraw the product from the collection.”
Maurice “Mo” Barnes is a Senior Contributor at Black America World News (BAWN). “Mo” is a Graduate of Morehouse College and a nationally renowned political scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also an accomplished Blues musician and plays regularly. Mo has used his vast journalistic talent to write for Rolling Out Magazine and many other popular U.S. Media outlets. You can reach Mo Barnes at https://twitter.com/theblogrebel.