Italian luxury brand Gucci lit up social media after images of a balaclava knit top that looked like blackface caricatures surfaced, leading the brand to apologize on Twitter.
“Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper,” the company wrote in a statement. “We can confirm that the item has been immediately removed from our online store and all physical stores.”
Gucci said it considers “diversity to be a fundamental value” and is committed to “turning this incident into a powerful learning moment.”
Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper.
We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.
Full statement below. pic.twitter.com/P2iXL9uOhs
— gucci (@gucci) February 7, 2019
The black sweater top, which retails for $890, features a funnel neck that covers the nose and mouth of the wearer with a red mouth outline. It has been removed from Gucci’s website, but is still available on sites like shopspring.com.
The design evokes images like those that have embroiled Virginia politics, with the governor and attorney general enmeshed in possibly career-ending scandals over racist photos.
Many people on social media expressed shock at the Gucci garment, and some shared images comparing the balaclava with blackface caricatures.
Balaclava knit top by Gucci. Happy Black History Month y’all. pic.twitter.com/HA7sz7xtOQ
— Rashida (@fuckrashida) February 6, 2019
GUCCI IS CANCELLED ALL 2019 🙅🏾♂️ pic.twitter.com/YtGKdKZwqX
— 4amtravo (@TravieJx21) February 7, 2019
— Keisha Ka’oir (@MikeishaDache) February 6, 2019
— SinnamonS ♥ (@SinnamonS) February 6, 2019
Balaclava sweaters are one of the season’s hottest fashion designs, according to HuffPost’s Julia Brucculieri.
Gucci did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for further comment.