At a time when Chinese consumers are spending billions a year on luxury goods, Italian designer brand Dolce & Gabbana could find itself frozen out following a gigantic branding blunder.
The two men behind the iconic brand have been forced to make a number of public and humbling apologies. After a series of high-profile gaffs in the country, with many in China calling for a boycott of the brand at a time of the year when the country’s burgeoning middle classes look set to spend significant sums on luxury goods – a figure which surpassed $7 billion last year.
How it started
D&G’s problems started with an online ad campaign that featured a Chinese model sporting the fashion house’s latest range struggling to eat a variety of traditional Italian dishes using a pair of chopsticks. The commercial was seen as stereotyping both Chinese culture and women, something D&G were quick to insist wasn’t the intention of the campaign. This was quickly followed by a number of posts attributed to co-founder Stefano Gabbana’s Instagram criticising China.
In a video released Friday, Gabbana and Domenico Dolce expressed their love and respect for Chinese culture.
“Our families have always taught us to respect the various cultures of the world, and for this, we want to apologise if we have made mistakes in interpreting your culture,” said Mr Dolce. “We have always loved China; we have visited many cities… and certainly we still have much to learn.”
“We offer our sincerest apologies to Chinese people worldwide,” said Mr Gabbana.
The video, which ended with Mr Dolce and Mr Gabbana saying, “Apologies,” in Mandarin, is the second apology issued in recent days after their eponymous fashion brand fell under fire this week.
The backlash led D&G to cancel a highly-anticipated fashion show in Shanghai at the last minute, with retailers in China pulling the brand’s products from their shelves and websites. Chinese celebrities and brand ambassadors have also come out to publicly express discontent, with some even terminating their contracts with D&G. Protesters were also spotted at the brand’s flagship shop in Milan.
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