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Model Ayesha Tan-Jones protests Gucci's line of straitjacket inspired clothes on the runway during Milan Fashion Week in September. Her hands read, "Mental health is not fashion." Photo: Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Gucci

Gucci and Prada are among the top luxury brands consumers have a strong emotional bond with, according to the latest brand intimacy study from the marketing agency MBLM.

Why it matters: Gucci has repeatedly released racially insensitive items, but still maintains a strong bond with consumers. The company has made some effort to improve, but nothing has changed how Gucci operates at its core.

  • The Italian brand was most recently criticized for being insensitive to mental health in September when it debuted straitjackets during Milan Fashion Week, the Washington Post reports.
  • Gucci has also been under fire for selling a $790 blue Turban at Nordstrom in May. The Sikh Coalition tweeted: "The turban is not just an accessory to monetize; it's a religious article of faith that millions of Sikhs view as sacred."

The big picture: Numerous companies, including Dolce and Gabbana, Dior, and Burberry continue to make one misstep after another.

  • High-end fashion companies “live in a sort of bubble and lack the diversity in their staff that could vet their fashion,” reports the Associated Press.

Between the lines: Mikaila Brown, a fashion anthropologist and lecturer at Cornell University, says most of these companies are based in Europe, where race is discussed and handled differently than in the U.S.

  • Brown says the European work culture makes raising concerns difficult, especially when time and money are invested in the designs.

Brown says Gucci has made some effort by collaborating with African American designer Dapper Dan and creating more minority initiatives.

  • Yes, but: Gucci has never dealt with a significant financial fallout after the release of a controversial item, Brown said, despite how willing black communities are to call them out on social media.

Other examples:

  • Dolce and Gabbana canceled fashion shows in China after a controversial ad showed a Chinese woman struggling to eat Western foods with chopsticks, reports the South China Morning Post.
  • Dior’s ad featuring actor Johnny Depp was criticized for invoking images of a Native American dancing for a perfume called ‘Sauvage,’ or savage in English, reports the Washington Post.

Go deeper ... New culture war: The meaning of white privilege

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
7 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania.