In Brief

Burberry apologises amid backlash over ‘noose’ hoodie

Model Liz Kennedy protests that ‘suicide isn’t fashion’ after controversial top featured in London runway show

Burberry has apologised after sending a model down a London Fashion Week runway wearing a hoodie with strings tied liked a noose around the neck.

Another of the fashion house’s models, Liz Kennedy, complained both before Sunday’s show and on social media, saying the noose evoked images of suicide.

Kennedy wrote on Instagram: “Suicide is not fashion. It is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway.

“I had asked to speak to someone about it but the only thing I was told to do was to write a letter.”

She also pointed out the “horrifying history of lynching” associated with nooses, “a connection that was also picked up on by critics on social media”, says CNN.

Yet according to Kennedy, backstage staff were joking about the design, and even hung the noose from the ceiling, the news site adds. 

“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,’” the model wrote.Following widespread condemnation, Burberry says it has now removed the item from its collection and admitted the design was “insensitive”.

“We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection Tempest,” said the British label’s chief executive, Marco Gobbetti.

He added: “I called Kennedy to apologise as soon as I became aware of this on Monday and we immediately removed the product and all images that featured it. Though the design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake.

“The experience Kennedy describes does not reflect who we are and our values. We will reflect on this, learn from it and put in place all necessary actions to ensure it does not happen again.”

Burberry’s creative director, Riccardo Tisci, also apologised, saying that “while the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realise that it was insensitive”.

The collection, called Tempest, is Tisci’s second for the brand. The clothes “were a mix of classic, severely tailored ensembles and more trendy street-inspired looks aimed at younger consumers”, reports The Guardian.

But Kennedy and other critics say the company should have known better.

“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. Feeling as though I was right back where I was when I was going through an experience with suicide in my family,” the model wrote on Instagram.

The row comes after a week after Gucci withdrew a sweater from its stores following complaints that the top evoked racist imagery.

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