Gucci withdraws $890 jumper from sale following ‘blackface’ backlash
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Gucci withdraws $890 jumper from sale following ‘blackface’ backlash

ITALIAN FASHION brand Gucci has withdrawn a ‘balaclava’ polo neck jumper from sale amid concerns on social media it resembles ‘blackface’.

The knitted jumper, which was retailing at $890 (£689), covers the bottom half of the face and includes a cut-out mouth hole designed to feature large red lips.

Part of the company’s 2018 autumn/winter collection, the jumper has attracted criticism during a time when the US is celebrating Black History Month.

It's been accused of perpetuating racist stereotypes, namely the controversial ‘blackface’ performers popularised in the 19th century by non-black performers to represent a caricature of a black person.

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“Black face but make it fashion huh?” one person tweeted.

“Balaclava knit top by Gucci. Happy Black History Month y’all,” another added.

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A third simply asked: “It’s 2019, when are we going to stop using stereotypes etc as marketing tactics?”

Gucci has now taken action to address the issue.

In a statement issued on Wednesday night, February 6thy, the company confirmed the item had been removed from sale and apologised for the incident.

“We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make,” they said.

“We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization [sic].”

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Gucci added that they hoped the incident provided a “powerful learning moment for the Gucci team”, adding it was “fully committed to increasing diversity”.

That statement alone wasn’t enough for some though, with one Tweeter calling for greater diversity.

“If you hire more Black people and cultivate an environment where people on all levels of the company feel comfortable to speak up incidents like this will be avoided,” they said.