According to their website, Dolce&Gabbana “is the new luxury, authentic and unconventional. A style that expresses new forms of elegance, presenting itself as a modern classicism, based on superior sartorial content and creativity.” The brand was founded in 1985 by Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. While known for their unique and unmistakable style, Dolce&Gabbana has recently been in the press for all the wrong reasons.
The fashion brand released a series of video clips seen as “racist, pandering to old stereotypes (they featured a Chinese model being taught to eat spaghetti, pizza and a cannoli with chopsticks) in advance of a planned extravaganza of a show in Shanghai” reports The New York Times. The videos have since been taken down, but the backlash is stronger than ever. Gabbana got into another situation for insulting a critic on Instagram by suggesting that the Chinese eat dogs. His counterargument was that his account was hacked. After these two extremely serious situations, there was more! According to The New York Times, the brand has, “in no short order:
- Been forced to cancel the show;
- Been excoriated by the Chinese celebrities and models slated to walk in the show;
- Been the subject of videos of consumers burning, destroying and otherwise renouncing their Dolce products;
- Had their physical locations altered, with the label’s storefronts plastered with “Not me” posters mocking Mr. Gabbana’s response to the scandal;
- Disappeared from the site of Chinese e-tail giant Alibaba’s TMall platform as well as jd.com, secoo.com, and department store Lane Crawford, which said customers had been returning the brand’s products;
- Been excoriated in the fashion press and the fashion enthusiast communities, with particularly passionate coverage coming from fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada;
- And increasingly been abandoned by its European and American supporters, including the influencers the brand has expensively wooed over the last few years.”
This massive blow to the company had other fashion brands be weary of their own mistakes and cautious to not upset anyone. Such brands include Chanel and their “luxury boomerang”, Zara using “Nazi and alt-right hate symbolism”, and Dior for “Jennifer Lawrence purporting to celebrate Mexican heritage”.
Dolce&Gabbana has since apologized for its mistakes with their three statements. You can see their first statement of apology with the video down below.
This has not been the first time that Dolce&Gabbana has had backlash. Back in 2016, they labelled a pair of shoes as “slave sandals” but later changed it to “decorative flat sandal”). They’ve also banned certain critics from coming to their shows in hopes that they don’t receive any negative reviews. However, this should be the least of their worries. Now, they are scrambling to make up for lost sales because of having to close down all of its stores in China.
I agree with the general public! Dolce&Gabbana should have taken more care in what they planned to do to market their new line. They should have been much more cautious about their content. They played into old stereotypes which upset the public even more. Cultural appropriation is very real. Unfortunately, Dolce&Gabbana had to learn that the hard way. Now, they’re going to have this huge loss in growth. Another interesting fact that I found about this whole situation was that it took them (the co-founders of Dolce&Gabban) one whole week later to have their apology be translated into Mandarin. You would have thought that with a situation this crucial and blown up that you would act more quickly on it than anything. It also surprised me that they had so much backlash before and still didn’t “learn their lesson”! Hopefully, this event was more than enough for them to learn the do’s and don’ts! Is this the end for Dolce & Gabbana?