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Denisa Šútorová
December 16, 2022, 5:30pm
Reading time: 5:50

Noose Around The Neck Or A Racist Turtleneck: 6 Disgusting Scandals That Shook The Fashion World

Racism, discrimination and fake products in official stores. Both luxury fashion houses and fast fashion brands made some controversial mistakes on their list.

Denisa Šútorová
December 16, 2022, 5:30pm
Reading time: 5:50
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Noose Around The Neck Or A Racist Turtleneck: 6 Disgusting Scandals That Shook The Fashion World
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In recent weeks, the fashion world was shaken by the controversial Balenciaga campaign, in which children posed with a teddy bear in BDSM gear. However, Balenciaga is definitely not the only brand that has gone through a scandal over the years of being on the market.


Several luxury fashion houses and fast fashion brands that set trends every year have dark periods behind them and racist, immoral campaigns on the list. Here are six fashion faux pas you may not have known about.


1. Louis Vuitton sold fakes in its official stores...


Louis Vuitton is the most counterfeited brand in the world. If you go to any flea market on the planet, you will probably come across a few (even really successful) fakes. However, as it seems, you can't be sure of this brand anymore... not even in its official stores.

According to WWD, in May of this year, one of the Louis Vuitton stores in Hunan, China, was supposed to sell an imitation handbag to a customer for $3,350. As reported by CEOWORLD Magazine, although it is not known why the new owner of the LV had its authenticity verified by a third party, the model he purchased turned out to be fake.


Source: Unsplash/Aylin Cobanoglu/na voľné použitie


After the lawsuit, Louis Vuitton had to pay the injured customer up to three times the price of the handbag, i.e. less than 14,000 dollars. Despite the verdict and financial settlement, the fashion house continues to deny the allegations of selling counterfeit goods, yet has not provided any evidence to support its innocence.


A similar mishap took place in 2018, in the official store of Vuitton located in the shopping centre of a five-star hotel in Mumbai, India (namely Oberoi Hotel). The police seized a total of 62 fake handbags from the store and arrested the two accused store owners. In addition to selling fake Louis Vuitton models, according to the police, they were also supposed to manufacture them in the store's attic.


2. Suicide is not a fashion, their own model told the Burberry brand


The British luxury brand Burberry, which is known for its elegance, famous trench coats and timeless cashmere scarves, is loved by Rihanna, Dua Lipa and Naomi Campbell. However, in addition to exclusive models and celebrity clients, they also have a controversial scandal on their list.


When they presented a navy-inspired collection at the fall-winter fashion show in 2019, they made a fatal mistake. Instead of drawstrings, one of the sweatshirts on the catwalk had... a loop.


Source: Youtube/Willie D Live


Fashion critics, but also the attentive eyes of many present at the show immediately condemned this detail. The design was also criticized by Liz Kennedy herself, a model who was part of the show and claimed that her concerns about the use of the noose were dismissed and ignored. "Suicide is not a fashion statement," Kennedy wrote on her Instagram.

“It's not glamorous or interesting, and since this show is about young people expressing their opinion and voice... I have to write it. Riccardo Tisci and everyone in the Burberry team, it's beyond my power to understand how you could allow something like this on the catwalk," adds the model.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Liz Kennedy 🦎™️ (@liz.kennedy_)



The UK Mental Health Foundation also responded to the case, saying that the incident should have forced the brand to reflect on its creative process.


The company's CEO Marco Gobetti issued a "clarifying" statement and had the particular model removed from this year's collection immediately. "Although the design was inspired by the nautical theme, the design was insensitive and we made a mistake," Gobetti admitted, according to CNN.


3. Kim Kardashian outraged the Japanese, they forced her to rename her brand


Despite Kim Kardashian's SKIMS shaping underwear brand breaking records today and becoming a strong competitor to both Victoria's Secret and Spanx in the last year, its launch was not without controversy. It should be noted that this was at the international level. The reason was the original name of the brand - Kimono - which is Japan's cultural heritage and the national dress of the Japanese people.


Kardashian was heavily criticised for cultural insensitivity, and her gesture was described as offensive in the media (especially Japanese ones).


Source: SKIMS


She was contacted by the mayor of Kyoto, who in an open letter asked her to reconsider the use of Kimono in her trademark. "The kimono is the result of the craftsmanship, sense of beauty and aesthetics of the Japanese people," wrote Daisaku Kadokawa.



He also added that kimono is inscribed on UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage and therefore should not be monopolized. In addition, Kardashian invited to visit.


Kim took the whole thing to heart and renamed Kimono to SKIMS. As reported by the People portal, she did not hesitate to admit her mistake. "I feel a little stupid. Why didn't we think about it? It's a public thing and anyone can spot a branding mistake. But everything happens for a reason,” she said.


4. A handbag with a swastika or a T-shirt with a six-point star in fast fashion: Zara, is that you?

The popular Zara brand has had two bad years in a row, and of course, it has itself to blame. In 2007, she sold a line of swastika handbags, eight years later she introduced children's T-shirts that resembled concentration camp uniforms... complete with stripes and a six-pointed yellow star. According to Business Insider, the t-shirt did not appear in the brand's American e-shop, but was available for a while to Swedish and Israeli customers.


Inditex, which owns the Spanish brand, said the design was inspired by the sheriff stars from classic western movies, in reference to the unmissable misstep. Nevertheless, she withdrew the product from sale for $22.

However, the brand did not avoid a 40 million dollar lawsuit that came from its former general counsel Jack Miller. Miller, who was in charge of branches in the US and Canada, claimed he was fired for being Jewish, gay and American, three things Zara founder Amancio Ortega allegedly hated.


Source: Zara


5. Gucci introduced a racist sweater for $890

The Italian fashion house Gucci knows that even a master carpenter sometimes cuts himself. In 2018, the luxury brand had to withdraw black turtlenecks that covered the lower half of the face and had cutouts resembling big red lips. Instagram and Twitter immediately noticed that the $890 hooded sweater was too strikingly reminiscent of blackface (a form of makeup used by non-black artists, mostly actors, to create a caricature of a person of African-American descent).

Several Twitter users shared the Gucci product, commenting that the product was launched in the US during the ongoing Black History Month.


Source: Gucci


After a wave of huge criticism (alluding to the lack of diversity in the brand's philosophy), the fashion house immediately apologized and issued an official statement on its social networks: “Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the woolen hood. We consider diversity to be a fundamental value that must be fully supported and respected and is at the forefront of every decision we make."



6. Abercrombie & Fitch told customers: Many of you don't belong here, we're not for everyone


The American brand Abercrombie & Fitch craves perfection, and as it has proven many times, it has its own rules for it. The former CEO of the brand, Michael Jeffries, caused a wave of criticism when he declared in 2006 that the brand preferred only "cool kids" as customers. "A lot of people don't belong here and can't belong here. Are we exclusive? Absolutely," he declared.


However, Abercrombie has never hidden the fact that exclusivity forms the image of the brand. In the Netflix documentary White Hot: The Rise & Fall Of Abercrombie & Fitch, several former store managers talk about how they had to hire only "good-looking employees, especially salespeople," who were supposed to be inspirational to shoppers.


The brand had its own manual for who looked good. A good example was a blue-eyed white man in the style of Ken. Employees had to be natural, thin, white-skinned, preferably blond, and of American descent. Those who did not meet these criteria worked in a warehouse, out of the public eye.



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