Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele Speaks Out About Blackface Controversy

guuci creative designer

Photo credit:DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS /Getty Images 

The creative director for luxury brand, Gucci, has broken his silence. Alessandro Michele is a well-known fashion designer, and also a creative director.  Michele issued a statement regarding the current backlash the company is facing, due to a blackface-inspired sweater that was recently released.

In the statement, Michele is apologizing for the $890 sweater, which has a strong resemblance to blackface. As we know, industry creative’s such as T.I., Soulja Boy, Spike Lee and Russell Simmons have all spoken out about this issue and even called for a boycott against the brand.  

Michele states he is taking full responsibility for the design, he also stated that It was meant to represent the legendary 1980s club kid Leigh Bowery. The sweater has been pulled from the shelves.

The statement reads, 

“Dear Colleagues,

I feel the need to write you all these few words to give a name to the pain of these days: my own and that of the people who saw in one of my creative projects an intolerable insult. 

It’s important for me to let you know that the jumper actually had very specific references, completely different from what was ascribed instead. 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.

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.

For this reason our company immediately apologized and withdraw the garment that produced such controversies. As you may have read from Marco in his letter, we are putting in place a series of immediate actions across the world that will increase inclusivity, diversity, participation and cultural awareness at any level and in any workplace. We are truly committed in facing what happened as a crucial learning moment for everybody.”