UK based Zimbabwean preacher Uebert Angel has blasted Italian luxury fashion brand after images of its $890 (£688) “balaclava jumper”, which features a cut-out at the mouth and red lips, were shared on social media sparking accusations that it was deliberately racist.
Writing on his Instagram account, the Spirit Embassy: GoodNews Church founder said; “It’s DEPLORABLE, IGNOBLE and INIQUITOUS for GUCCI to release this type of clothing that is very close to the RACIST GOLLIWOGS also known as a MINISTREL during this BLACK HISTORY MONTH.
“Not that if they had made and advertised this DESPICABLE thing during any other time it was going to be forgivable but doing it during this BLACK HISTORY MONTH is really a sign that they knew what they were doing but honestly didn’t care because they know the world cares little about the black race. I find this outrageous and this Sunday I will be LIVE on TV exposing several other DIABOLIC trends in our society. #BlackHistoryMonth,” Angel added.
Gucci has come under fire after shoppers complained that the advertised woman’s jumper “resembled blackface”. “Inspired by vintage ski masks, multicoloured knitted balaclavas walked the runway, adding a mysterious feel to this collection,” says an item description.
“The Fall Winter 2018 runway show space reflected the stark environment of an operating room, emulating the theme of the collection where reconstructing materials and fabrics created a new identity.”
But many people voiced their criticism of the jumper, with some pointing out that Black History Month was off to an ignorant start.
Gucci has apologized and discontinued selling the sweater. In a Twitter post Wednesday, Gucci said it “deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper.”
The top, which is no longer on the company’s website, is a black turtleneck sweater that pulls up over the bottom half of the face with a cut out and oversized red lips around the mouth.
“We can confirm that the item has been immediately removed from our online store and all physical stores,” Gucci said in a statement on Wednesday.
“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.”
Michael Bonner tweeted his frustration at the constant depiction of racist imagery in the news recently.
“One day I am going to deliver a prolific dissertation on how it feels to live in a continuous cycle of disrespect as a black man,” he said. “Gigantic brands like @gucci create offensive “fashion”, quickly apologize, and then state, ‘We did not know.” I don’t care. This is unacceptable.”