From even a casual observer’s perspective, the constant controversy in the fashion world is pretty exhausting. While Gucci continues to reel from its blackface blunder, Burberry recently ignited its own firestorm over some controversial styling, which the company is now moving to quash.
The controversy erupted immediately after Burberry’s recent Fall/Winter 2019 runway show, as critics pointed out the insensitivity of tying hoodie drawstrings to resemble a noose. Burberry purported that the knot was intended to evoke the collection’s nautical theme. ““We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection,” CEO Marco Gobbetti said in a statement. Like the recent quarrel that arose after it was confirmed that Burberry burned unsold products, the company has quickly moved to make amends.
As such, the British fashion house has now “developed a plan to increase our consciousness and understanding of social issues and fully embrace diversity and inclusion,” according to an open letter posted on its Instagram. Further steps include providing appropriate training for all employees and assembling an advisory board of external experts. The latter improvement mirrors Prada‘s recent move to establish a Diversity and Inclusion Council. Burberry also promises to diversify its “pipeline of talent,” which means improving in-house diversity and expanding the reach of its creative arts scholarship.
Finally, the label promises to work with crisis organizations, including Samaritans, a 24/7 support service. At the very least, this final step appears to be taking effect immediately; Samaritans told The Guardian, “Samaritans has been approached by Burberry, but nothing has been agreed.”
Check out the full letter and controversial styling below.
— HYPEBEAST (@HYPEBEAST) February 19, 2019
View this post on Instagram
These steps include: 1. Increasing our understanding We will strengthen our understanding of and sensitivity to a range of perspectives to help us live the values we hold and be truly inclusive. We will: . • Introduce additional training for all employees, including senior management • Establish employee councils focused on diversity and inclusion • Assemble an advisory board of external experts 2. Diversifying the pipeline of talent We will evolve our pipeline of talent to ensure we better reflect the world we live in and build a more diverse talent base for the future. We will: . • Strengthen goals to ensure diverse representation in our employee base • Expand our creative arts scholarship internationally to support students from diverse backgrounds and provide full-time employment for 50 graduates from the programme over the next five years • Extend internationally Burberry Inspire, our in-school arts and culture programme designed to help young people overcome challenging circumstances and see future opportunity in the creative industries 3. Championing those who help others We will add to our support of organisations promoting diversity and inclusion and providing assistance to people in crisis, including the Samaritans, who offer a safe, confidential place to which people can turn