Dapper Dan Responds to Gucci Blackface Controversy

The fallout from Gucci’s recent blackface controversy continues.

Dapper Dan, the Harlem, N.Y.-based designer who has worked with the brand since 2017, expressed his concerns with Gucci on Twitter Sunday.

The Italian fashion house found itself in hot water this week when multiple social media users pointed out the resemblance between a fall ’18 black balaclava jumper with a red-lined mouth hole and historic representations of blackface.

Gucci’s balaclava knit-top black sweater.
CREDIT: AP

Now, Dan has added his voice to the list of those concerned about the sweater.

“I am a Black man before I am a brand,” he tweeted. “Another fashion house has gotten it outrageously wrong. There is no excuse nor apology that can erase this kind of insult.”

The designer said he will sit down with Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri to discuss the situation.

“The CEO of Gucci has agreed to come from Italy to Harlem this week to meet with me, along with members of the community and other industry leaders,” he explained. “There cannot be inclusivity without accountability. I will hold everyone accountable.”

Gucci itself issued an apology for selling the jumper, adding that the item had been pulled from all stores and from the web.

“Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper,” the brand wrote in a statement. “We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make. We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond.”

The fashion house is not the only brand to have been called out for racial insensitivity in the past couple of years.

Adidas pulled its Black History Month sneakers this month amid controversy over its “all-white” colorway. Dolce & Gabbana canceled a Shanghai runway show following complaints about racist remarks allegedly made by co-founder Stefano Gabbana, while Prada removed a line of keychains and trinkets in December when social media users noticed the items resembled blackface.

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