Last week Gucci withdrew a polo neck sweater from its Fall/Winter 2018 collection after the received backlash for its resemblance to racist blackface tropes.
READ: Dapper Dan Is Opening Up A Gucci Boutique In The Heart Of Harlem
Now, Gucci’s creative director has addressed the controversy, having issued a personal letter to his colleagues about the sweater.
According to a report from Fashionista, in his letter, Alessandro Michele said that the item “had very specific references” and was “a tribute to Leigh Bowery, to his camouflage art.”
“The fact that, contrarily to my intentions, that turtle-neck jumper evoked a racist imagery causes me the greatest grief,” Michele said. “But I am aware that sometimes our actions can end up with causing unintentional effects. It is therefore necessary taking full accountability for these effects.”
He went on to say that the company has made a pledge to “increase inclusivity, diversity, participation and cultural awareness at any level and in any workplace.”
Michele’s letter comes Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri also issued an internal memo telling his colleagues, “We made a mistake. A big one. Because of cultural ignorance, but ignorance is not an excuse.”
Both statements came after Gucci collaborator Dapper Dan publicly criticized the sweater on Instagram.
“I am a black man before I am a brand. Another fashion house has gotten it outrageously wrong. There is no excuse nor apology that can erase this kind of insult,” Dan wrote.
Dan said that Bizzarri would be meeting with him in Harlem, as well as members of the community and other industry leaders in regards to the backlash.
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