Dolce & Gabbana Isn’t The First Fashion Label Who Got Under Fire For Being Racist

#ICYMI, fashion brand Dolce & Gabbbana has pulled out its products from e-commerce sites in China, amid racists ad backlash by celebrities and netizens. What sparked the outrage? A series of commercial episodes that featured a beautiful Chinese woman struggling to eat spaghetti, pizza and cannoli  with chopsticks.

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#DGlovesChina ? More like #DGdesperateforthatChineseRMB lol.  In a bid to further appeal to luxury's covetable Chinese consumers, @dolcegabbana released some hella offensive “instructional” videos on the usage of chopsticks.  Pandering at it's finest, but taken up a notch by painting their target demographic as a tired and false stereotype of a people lacking refinement/culture to understand how to eat foreign foods and an over-the-top embellishment of cliché ambient music, comical pronunciations of foreign names/words, and Chinese subtitles (English added by us), which begs the question—who is this video actually for?  It attempts to target China, but instead mocks them with a parodied vision of what modern China is not…a gag for amusement. Dolce & Gabbana have already removed the videos from their Chinese social media channels, but not Instagram.  Stefano Gabbana has been on a much-needed social media cleanse (up until November 2nd), so maybe he kept himself busy by meddling with the marketing department for this series. Who wants to bet the XL cannoli “size” innuendos were his idea? Lmao. • #dolceandgabbana #altamoda #rtw #dgmillennials #stefanogabbana #shanghai #chinese #italian #cannoli #meme #wtf #dumb #lame #chopsticks #foodie #tutorial #cuisine #italianfood #asianmodel #asian #chinesefood #dietprada

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Celebrities from the country including style icon Zhang Ziyi, Chen Kun Li, Li Bingbing and Dilraba Dilmurat stood against the D&G ad by boycotting the Italian fashion brand.

What’s more, screenshots of rude messages on Instagram’s direct message has surfaced on the net, allegedly from the fashion designer and co-founder, Stefano Gabbana, which showed him making derogatory comments about Chinese people and the culture in general.

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As @dolcegabbana prepares to mount their next runway show in Shanghai this coming evening (7:30PM) and the rest of Instagram fawns over what’s sure to be an overly lavish “love letter” to China, we’ll be wondering if we’ll see chopsticks as hair ornaments, take-out boxes as purses, or even kimonos misappropriated as Chinese costume. Time will tell. For now, we’ll let y’all simmer on this DM between Stefano and Dieter @michaelatranova (chronology is reversed in slides). Word has it that they’re still in the process of model casting (over 200 Asian girls scheduled)…wouldn’t let them walk the show if we were their agents lol. Also, curious what the Chinese government will think of their country being called shit basically…especially considering how strict they are on who to allow to enter the country on work visas based on a thorough social media background checks. • #DGTheGreatShow #DGlovesChina #runway #fashionshow #cancelled #racism #dolceandgabbana #altamoda #rtw #dgmillennials #stefanogabbana #shanghai #chinese #china #wtf #dumb #lame #asianmodel #asian #dietprada

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However, the Italian designer has denied writing the messages, claiming that his Instagram account had been hacked, clarifying it further that his legal team would be investigating into the issue.

The roof, as young people would say — is definitely on fire.

Following this unfortunate series of events, Dolce & Gabbana has since cancelled their major Shanghai one-hour runway show which was set to involve 500 looks, which cost millions of dollars! And just yesterday, the designers released a statement on Instagram, apologising for the incident.

However, this issue is not technically new, as racism and discrimination has silently been within the grounds of fashion industries. While there are plenty of movements in the world trying to make the fashion industry ‘inclusive and diverse’, there are many prominent high-end, luxury designer brands that are still sticking to the old-fashioned ‘white’ mindset.

Back in 2013, former model and current activist, Bethann Hardison sent letter to all the major councils of fashion designers in New York, London, Paris and Milan, listing every fashion designer who had committed the “racist ad” of using one or no models of colour in their 2013 fall shows. She wrote, “Whether it’s the decision of the designer, stylist or casting director, that decision to use basically all white models, reveals a trait that is unbecoming to modern society.”

So you see, Dolce & Gabbbana, isn’t the first to commit this act. Here are other designer labels that may have been caught up with racial discrimination:

1. Giuseppe Zanotti

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The fashion and shoe designer, landed in the hot seat after Nicki Minaj called out Giuseppe Zanotti for allegedly refusing to collaborate with her. According to the Anaconda singer, Zanotti has used her as an inspiration for some of his sneakers but denied offers and refused to collaborate together on a collection.

The feud which was publicly displayed on Twitter, showed Nicki  calling the designer racist and disrespectful, after he name a particular line of sneakers called “Nicki” – inspired by, well you guessed it, Minaj herself! She even mentioned this Zanotti in an iconic rap verse in her track Monster, “Giuseppe heel, that’s the monster shoe”.

2. Phoebe Philo

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For year’s, Céline has portrayed a minimal yet empowering female gaze in fashion. Under the helm of the creative director and British fashion designer, Phoebe Philo, it has become synonymous with minimalism, clean lines and designing clothes for women who didn’t want to dress for anyone but herself. However, Iman Diversity Coalition has slammed Phoebe Philo’s Céline for never having a coloured person in their collection, claiming in an interview, “And yet they have the best accessories; every black woman who has money buys her accessories.” She added, “”Not me though,” Iman shot back. “I walk the walk. I can get another It bag. I have my wallet. I make a conscious decision not to buy that stuff.”

3. Tommy Hilfiger

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Shockingly, this American fashion brand got into trouble with rumours alleging how Tommy wouldn’t have made his clothes so nice if he had known that minorities were going to wear them. Apparently, Hilfiger made a statement on the Oprah show,  saying, “If I had known that African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians would buy my clothes, I would not have made them so nice,’ and ‘I wish those people would not buy my clothes – they were made for upper-class whites”. However, the incident has since been clarified and made to rest by Hilfiger and Oprah in 2007, claiming he has never been on Oprah when the rumors started.

He addressed the accusations once again in 2012, saying, “We heard that I was supposedly on “Oprah,” and I told her that if I had known black people were going to buy my clothes, I wouldn’t have been a designer. I had never been on “Oprah,” and I had never said that. And I would never believe that anyway, nor would I ever say that anyway.

Then Joel Horowitz, who was still chief executive of the business, came to me and said, “Do you know in my Jewish community, people are saying that you also don’t want Jewish people wearing your clothes?” Then we read the Filipino tabloids, then we heard from Hispanics [that I didn’t want them wearing my clothes] and pretty soon dogs and cats. It was a rumor and a myth. Oprah invited me [to be on the show to deal with it]. Some people may still believe it”.

4. John Galliano

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British designer, John Galliano has been given a suspended fine of €6,000 (RM 28, 739.74) by the Paris court for racist and antisemitic rants towards people in a Paris bar.

In 2010 and 2011, Galliano was found guilty of “public insults” based on origin, religion, race or ethnicity after two incidents.

In February 2011, he repeatedly insulted a french couple who were having beers outside La Perle bar in Paris’s Marais district for 45 minutes, calling them “fucking ugly Jewish bitch” and “fucking Asian bastard”.

 5. Louis Vuitton 

French fashion house Louis Vuitton was sued by a former employee of the company over racist remarks made by a former manager of a shop inside London department store Selfridge. It was claimed that the manager told an African employee that, “Black people are slaves who eat dirt off the floor”, along with remarks about various races and religions. Other race-related statements include, Louis Vuitton products were “shit” because they were “made in China”. On top of that, he also regularly made racist remarks against Asians and Africans.

In light of this, we would like to call upon designer labels to have sensitivity towards race and culture diversity because the world is made up of different colours. Fashion should be enjoyed for all despite race, culture and background, so let’s change this mindset from now onward.

On a side note, discrimination also comes in many ways including body shaming and Unisaga, a podcast on Ais Kacang, can totally relate to this. Listen to it here.