François-Henri Pinault, the CEO of the company that owns the Gucci brand, has said it was a mistake for the label not to take African-American sensitivities into account when designing its clothes.
Pinault said Kering has teams that check they won’t be offending people in Asia with the products they sell into that market, but “we don’t do that for the African-American community, and that’s a mistake.”
“We didn’t understand the sensitivities of the African-American community, which is reflected in that mistake,” Pinault said, promising that the company would be stepping up its cultural-sensitivity efforts.
Gucci’s CEO, Marco Bizzarri, is reportedly planning to meet with the designer Dapper Dan—who worked with Gucci on a recent collection—during a New York trip this week. The designer was one of many to criticize the label for its sweater.
There seems to be a wave of terrible blackface-related decisions coming to light at the moment. Virginia’s governor and attorney general both recently admitted wearing blackface in the past, and—back to the fashion world—singer Katy Perry followed the Gucci misstep by apologizing for now-pulled Perry-branded shoes that also resembled blackface. Perry was apparently aiming more for “modern art and surrealism” than for racism.