Controversy has hit the world of fashion, as Dolce & Gabbana’s Shanghai fashion show was abruptly cancelled following the circulation of racist comments from the Instagram accounts of one of the designers.
The drama first began three days ago, when a series of promotional videos were posted by the brand. The videos showed an Asian model being taught how to eat pizza, cannoli and spaghetti in a male voice over. The videos were entitled “eating with chopsticks” and were distributed across the company’s social media pages. However, the videos were ill-received with many criticizing the content as racist or sexist.
The larger controversy arose as a result of these videos. Screenshots from the verified account of Stefano Gabbana, responding to the promotions criticisms, have been shared by Diet Prada which display a series of racist messages directed at the Chinese community. The messages read:
“From now on in all the interviews that I will do international, I will say that the country of [series of poop emojis] is China”
“China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia”
“Hahahahaha you think I’m afraid about your post?”
The screenshots quickly began to circulate, catching the attention of Chinese fashion elites and prompting a mass boycott of the brand's runway show. Many Chinese fashion leaders took to social media to express their distaste for the designer’s actions and revoking their support for the show.
Actress Zhang Siyi posted that, “Starting today, Miss Zhang and her team will not buy and use any D&G products.”
China Bentley Modelling agency released an official statement, informing the public that 24 of their models who were booked to walk in the show were now boycotting the event.
Angelica Cheung, editor in chief of Vogue China also commented on the shocking events: “As I have voiced time and again publicly and privately, Western brands seeking to enter and expand in Chine should be aware of Chinese cultural sensibilities. Instead of dictating everything from head office, they would gain a lot from listening to the opinions and insights of their Chinese teams.”
Following the massive outcry, the designers were forced to cancel what would have been a multimillion-dollar show.
The social media accounts of Stefano Gabbana and the official brand have released statements apologizing for the insensitive comments, blaming the releases on an anonymous hacker. However, their somewhat lacklustre excuses have not been able to pull back the support of an enraged Chinese Fashion community. It seems that only time will tell how the brand will attempt to mend fences, and if the Chinese Fashion community is open to any form of reconciliation following such distressing revelations.