Posted on February 7, 2019

Gucci ‘Deeply Apologizes’ and Removes Its $890 Balaclava After Thousands on Twitter Branded It ‘Blackface for Millennials’

Matthew Wright, Daily Mail, February 7, 2019

A $890 Gucci top has sparked outrage on Twitter with many claiming that it appears to play off blackface.

Gucci has since apologized for selling the black balaclava knit top from the Fall Winter 2018 season. It currently sells for $890 on sites like Spring and features a cut-out at the mouth that is outlined in red.

On its site, Spring said that the season ‘reflected the stark environment of an operating room, emulating the theme of the collection where reconstructing materials and fabrics created a new identity.

‘Inspired by vintage ski masks, multicolored knitted balaclavas walked the runway, adding a mysterious feel to this collection. This knit top combines the accessory with the ready-to-wear collection.’

Searches on Gucci’s website revealed that the item was not listed. But archive searches indicate that the clothing item was last on the brand’s site in January.

People were still able to circulate images of the top, along with images of another wrap with a similar theme, and declared that the fashion brand was continuing to downplay the severity of blackface.

Many speculated that the items were released for Black History Month, but all had been showcased months prior in 2018.

User Rashida shared a screengrab of another mask-like item that Gucci showed off in their runway look and said: ‘They have a mask to match so you can have a chic classic black face moment without the mess of paint.’

The sentiment was shared by @stegotaurus, who added: ‘THIIIIIIIS is blackface guys. THIS. huge overdramatic red lips and a literal BLACK face. This is DISGUSTING. I don’t wanna see any of you with Gucci belts and slides after this.’

‘WTF @gucci?!!?!?!? Haute Couture Blackface for the millennials??? F**K. YOU,’ a different user said.

‘Gucci out here selling blackface sweaters,’ declared Cain Knight.

‘If you think this was an “oversight” you’re sadly mistaken,’ said another user. ‘Brands do s**t like this all the time. They give a tired a*s apology then we continue to wear their clothes. Do you REALLY think not one person employed at Gucci saw this top and didn’t automatically think “blackface” FOH.’

@karyndeshields added: ‘I am a @Gucci fan, and I was going to buy a jacquard cardigan because it’s a forever piece, but until they and other luxury brands hire some people of color to consider the imagery of items like the ‘blackface’ balaclava sweater (Randy Jackson voice) its a no for me dawg!’

‘Can y’all stop supporting @gucci already,’ asked Daniel Preda. ‘This blatant racist marketing is absolute fuckery nor is it “trendy” or “cool”. Shop elsewhere.’

One user did share a grab of the brand’s theme for the look and advocated that they weren’t trying to intentionally don blackface.

Gucci took to Twitter to apologize for the jumper and added that diversity was fundamental for the brand.

‘Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper,’ it said on Wednesday night just hours after asked the brand for comment.

‘We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.’

The controversy comes after horrifying blackface and lynching images from North Carolina Democrat Roy Cooper’s yearbook emerged just days after he called on Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to resign over racist images in his yearbook.

Virginia’s third-ranking official revealed he too wore blackface in the 1980s on the same day as a woman claimed she was forced to perform oral sex on the state’s Justin Fairfax, who many have said should replace Northam.