The latest person to speak out and apologize is Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, who was recently invited to Harlem to meet with Dap and members of the community and other industry leaders from the area. Following the visit, he issued a personal letter to the company where he expressed his deepest regret for the piece, which he said wasn’t intended to evoke racist imagery.
“It was a tribute to Leigh Bowery, to his camouflage art, to his ability to challenge the bourgeois conventions and conformism, to his eccentricity as a performer, to his extraordinary vocation to masquerade meant as a hymn to freedom,” Alessandro wrote. “The fact that, contrarily to my intentions, that turtle-neck jumper evoked a racist imagery causes me the greatest grief. But I am aware that sometimes our actions can end up with causing unintentional effects. It is therefore necessary taking full accountability for these effects.”
Gucci is also making sure that it won’t end with just apologies. Fashionista obtained a memo that circulated internally from CEO Marco Bizzarri which stated a plan to implement a global cultural awareness program and a scholarship program to “facilitate an increase of different communities within the creative office.” Alessandro mentioned this in his letter as well. This comes after widespread accusation that the brand didn’t have a diverse pool of employees because if they did, the blackface-like balaclava sweater wouldn’t be made.
“We are truly committed in facing what happened as a crucial learning moment for everybody,” Alessandro wrote. We hope that this doesn’t happen again, too.