After backlash surrounding one of their designs displayed at London Fashion Week that featured a noose around the neck of a hoodie, the fashion brand Burberry has issued an apology.

“We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection,” Marco Gobbetti, Burberry’s CEO, said in a statement. “Though the design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake. [Burberry will] reflect on this, learn from it, and put in place all necessary actions to ensure it does not happen again.”

The hoodie, which was worn by model Liz Kennedy during Burberry’s show on Sunday, caused an uproar after its reveal, led by the model herself. In an emotional Instagram post, Kennedy shared that she had been triggered by the design but had been ignored when she asked her bosses to remove it from the collection. “Suicide is not fashion,” Kennedy said, while also linking the design to the “the horrifying history of lynching” of African-Americans in the United States.

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@burberry @riccardotisci17 Suicide is not fashion. It is not glamorous nor edgy and since this show is dedicated to the youth expressing their voice, here I go. Riccardo Tisci and everyone at Burberry it is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway. How could anyone overlook this and think it would be okay to do this especially in a line dedicated to young girls and youth. The impressionable youth. Not to mention the rising suicide rates world wide. Let’s not forget about the horrifying history of lynching either. There are hundreds of ways to tie a rope and they chose to tie it like a noose completely ignoring the fact that it was hanging around a neck. A massive brand like Burberry who is typically considered commercial and classy should not have overlooked such an obvious resemblance. I left my fitting extremely triggered after seeing this look (even though I did not wear it myself). Feeling as though I was right back where I was when I was going through an experience with suicide in my family. Also to add in they briefly hung one from the ceiling (trying to figure out the knot) and were laughing about it in the dressing room. I had asked to speak to someone about it but the only thing I was told to do was to write a letter. I had a brief conversation with someone but all that it entailed was “it’s fashion. Nobody cares about what’s going on in your personal life so just keep it to yourself” well I’m sorry but this is an issue bigger than myself. The issue is not about me being upset, there is a bigger picture here of what fashion turns a blind eye to or does to gain publicity. A look so ignorantly put together and a situation so poorly handled. I am ashamed to have been apart of the show. #burberry. I did not post this to disrespect the designer or the brand but to simply express an issue I feel very passionate about.

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Riccardo Tisci, Burberry’s Chief Creative Officer, who was responsible for Sunday’s show, also issued a public apology. “I am so deeply sorry for the distress that has been caused as a result of one of the pieces in my show on Sunday,” he said in a statement.  But not everyone was quick to forgive the designer or the brand he represented.


Occurring just weeks after Katy Perry was accused of designing shoes that resembled blackface, comedian Whitney Cummings took to Twitter to question the fashion industry’s seeming insensitivity to racism. Fellow comedian Wanda Sykes also critiqued the brand, calling out the “assholes” in the fashion industry for making the “worst Black History Month ever.”

Meanwhile, rapper T.I. has chosen to boycott the Burberry brand, as he has done already with Gucci, Prada and Moncler for their previous displays of racist designs. In a post to his Instagram account, the rapper claimed that the prevalence of these designs in the fashion industry can’t be a coincidence.

The hoodie in question has been removed from Burberry’s line as of Tuesday.

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