Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are no strangers to controversy. Over the years, the pair have frequently been the source of bad press directed at their eponymous brand; media firestorms over a pair of shoes called “slave sandals” and a public excoriation of gay parents are just two of their memorable blunders. Unlike before, however, D&G’s latest scandal isn’t blowing over so quickly. This controversy stems from a series of videos released to promote the brand’s impending show in Shanghai, which featured what many viewed as racist depictions of Chinese individuals and were quickly followed up by a stream of offensive name-calling from Gabbana’s personal Instagram. Following backlash, Dolce & Gabbana not only officially cancelled the show, but also saw their products removed from many Chinese retail sites. As usual, social media is a battleground of its own, and videos are spreading of consumers lighting their D&G gear on fire in protest. The designers eventually released a joint apology video, but only after Gabbana initially claimed his Instagram was hacked. Although it is too early to predict what the long-term impact of this controversy will be, it should be noted that many of those speaking out against D&G are Asian women. From critic Susie Bubble to model Estelle Chen, it’s clear who might be leading this next fight.
For Further Reading
Independent dug into what the Dolce & Gabbana controversy means for the future of Orientalism as racism.
This latest scandal isn’t D&G’s first brush with political incorrectness. What do you think makes this controversy different?
Think before you buy! And be conscious of subtle racism, micro-aggressions, and gender stereotyping in our everyday advertising.