Growing backlash against Dolce & Gabbana in China has led Hong Kong-based luxury department store Lane Crawford and Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, the world’s largest online luxury goods retailer, to announce that they will no longer carry the Italian brand, effective immediately. The news comes on the heels of a controversy following allegations of racism against both the brand itself and co-founder Stefano Gabbana; Chinese e-commerce platforms including Alibaba, JD, Secoo, VIPshop and NetEase have all dropped Dolce & Gabbana as well.
The fast-moving controversy began this week when three videos promoting D&G’s massive fashion show in Shanghai hit the brand’s Facebook, Weibo, Twitter and Instagram accounts. The videos featured a Chinese woman struggling to eat spaghetti, pizza and cannoli with chopsticks, sparking outrage on the Internet with Chinese consumers who were offended by racial stereotyping and an off-putting tone that came across as more offensive than playful.
Further accusations of racism followed after screenshots of messages sent from Stefano Gabbana’s Instagram account were uploaded. The messages appeared to show the designer defending the show’s promotional videos while contributing to racial stereotypes through the derogatory use of an emoji to describe China.
View this post on Instagram
Our Instagram account has been hacked. So has the account of Stefano Gabbana. Our legal office is urgently investigating. We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts, comments and direct messages. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China. Dolce & Gabbana 的官方Intragram 账号和 Stefano Gabbana 的 Instagram 账号被盗，我们已经立即通过法律途径解决。我们为这些不实言论给中国和中国人民造成的影响和伤害道歉。我们对中国和中国文化始终一贯的热爱与尊重。
As the videos and Gabbana’s alleged messages went viral, Dolce & Gabbana released a statement claiming that the brand’s and Stefano Gabbana’s Instagram accounts had both been hacked.
The brand was forced to cancel its Shanghai fashion show after famous Chinese celebrities Zhang Ziyi, Chen Kun, Li Bingbing and singer Karry Wang Junkai announced that they were pulling out of the event. Chinese consumers, meanwhile, have made their outrage known far and wide, posting videos in which they destroy the brand’s products all over social media.
Since then, the news has spread around the globe and outraged people in many countries, leading to an ever-growing crisis which prompted the newest announcements from Lane Crawford and Yoox Net-a-porter Group. What happens next, only time will tell.