Nov 24, 2019

High-end fashion houses struggle to learn from controversial missteps

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

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Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Tear gas is fired as police clash with protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd outside the 3rd Precinct Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minneapolis police used tear gas during clashes with protesters demanding justice Tuesday night for George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody, according to multiple news reports and images shared to social media.

Driving the news: The FBI is investigating Floyd's death after video emerged of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes, ignoring protests that he couldn't breathe. Hundreds of protesters attended the demonstration at the intersection where Floyd died, per the Guardian.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 350,000 globally on Wednesday morning, per Johns Hopkins data.

By the numbers: More than 5.9 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2.2 million have recovered from the virus. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.9 million tests).

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:00 a.m. ET: 5,594,175 — Total deaths: 350,531 — Total recoveries — 2,288,579Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:00 a.m. ET: 1,681,418 — Total deaths: 98,929 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy