D&G’s China Show Postponed, Gabbana’s ‘Racist’ Messages Leaked
The Dolce and Gabbana runway show in Shanghai was supposed to happen on 21 November. However, a racist marketing campaign leading up to the show made Chinese people scream #BoycottDolceandGabbana on social media and in person.
The brand posted a bunch of short videos on the Chinese social media website Weibo, depicting a Chinese woman trying to have traditional Italian food with chopsticks. The Chinese accused the videos of stereotyping them and appropriating their culture from a western lens. Within 24 hours, the video was removed.
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The accusations of racism and racial stereotyping intensified after what appeared to be an Instagram direct message conversation between Stefano Gabbana and fashion writer Michaela Phuong, was shared by Diet Prada, an Instagram account known as the watchdog of the fashion industry. In the conversation, Gabbana appears to defend the campaign and make derogatory comments about China and Chinese commenters. He also complains about the video being taken down.
According to Bloomberg, e-commerce websites have already started taking down D&G products.
The brand subsequently put out a statement on Instagram alleging that Gabbana’s Instagram account was hacked.
According to a report by The Guardian, the brand was distressed because of the outrage and hopes that people will see the love with which they had put the event together.
“Our dream was to bring to Shanghai a tribute event dedicated to China which tells our history and vision. It was not simply a fashion show, but something that we created especially with love and passion for China and all the people around the world who loves Dolce & Gabbana. What happened today was very unfortunate not only for us, but also for all the people who worked day and night to bring this event to life. From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to express our gratitude to our friends and guests.”Dolce & Gabbana
Some of China’s biggest celebrities were slated to participate in the event.
It is still unclear as to how this controversy will affect the brand’s popularity in general. It is a healthy reminder, nevertheless, for brands to steer clear of racism and stereotypes.