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Fashion label Burberry apologizes for 'suicide' hoodie

Key Points
  • Fashion label Burberry has received online backlash after unveiling a hoodie with a rope tied around its neck like a noose.
  • The company’s CEO has apologized for the “distress” caused by the design and removed the look from Burberry’s collection.
  • Model Liz Kennedy publicized the issue in a damning Instagram post this week.
A model wears a creation by Burberry at the Autumn/Winter 2019 fashion week runway show in London.
Photo by Vianney Le Caer | Invision | AP

Burberry apologized after a hoodie with ropes resembling a noose was featured in a catwalk event at London Fashion Week.

"We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection," Marco Gobbetti, Burberry's CEO, said in a statement emailed to CNBC.

"Though the design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake."

He added that Burberry would "reflect on this, learn from it, and put in place all necessary actions to ensure it does not happen again."

The hoodie was one of the items unveiled in the Tempest collection in a show presented by Burberry's Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci on Sunday. It has since been removed from the collection.

Criticism from Liz Kennedy — one of the British fashion house's own models — led to online backlash. Kennedy blasted the brand in an Instagram post this week, saying that "suicide is not fashion."

"Riccardo Tisci and everyone at Burberry it is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway," she said. "How could anyone overlook this and think it would be okay to do this especially in a line dedicated to young girls and youth."

In an emailed statement, Tisci said we was "deeply sorry for the distress" caused by the hoodie. 

"While the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive," he said. "It does not reflect my values nor Burberry's and we have removed it from the collection. I will make sure that this does not happen again."

View this post on Instagram

@burberry @riccardotisci17 Suicide is not fashion. It is not glamorous nor edgy and since this show is dedicated to the youth expressing their voice, here I go. Riccardo Tisci and everyone at Burberry it is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway. How could anyone overlook this and think it would be okay to do this especially in a line dedicated to young girls and youth. The impressionable youth. Not to mention the rising suicide rates world wide. Let’s not forget about the horrifying history of lynching either. There are hundreds of ways to tie a rope and they chose to tie it like a noose completely ignoring the fact that it was hanging around a neck. A massive brand like Burberry who is typically considered commercial and classy should not have overlooked such an obvious resemblance. I left my fitting extremely triggered after seeing this look (even though I did not wear it myself). Feeling as though I was right back where I was when I was going through an experience with suicide in my family. Also to add in they briefly hung one from the ceiling (trying to figure out the knot) and were laughing about it in the dressing room. I had asked to speak to someone about it but the only thing I was told to do was to write a letter. I had a brief conversation with someone but all that it entailed was “it’s fashion. Nobody cares about what’s going on in your personal life so just keep it to yourself” well I’m sorry but this is an issue bigger than myself. The issue is not about me being upset, there is a bigger picture here of what fashion turns a blind eye to or does to gain publicity. A look so ignorantly put together and a situation so poorly handled. I am ashamed to have been apart of the show. #burberry. I did not post this to disrespect the designer or the brand but to simply express an issue I feel very passionate about.

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