Dolce & Gabbana's China Problem
Dolce & Gabbana is reeling from a self-inflicted scandal that seems unlikely to go away anytime soon.
Faux pas upon faux pas: The Italian fashion house canceled a highly anticipated runway show last month in Shanghai amid social media backlash over an ad campaign that many deemed racist and based on tired tropes about Chinese culture. It included video of an Asian woman trying unsuccessfully to use chopsticks to eat Italian foods like pizza and cannoli.
Deepening crisis: As the social media backlash spread, co-founder Stefano Gabbana appeared to defend the video, worsening the crisis with offensive comments on his personal Instagram account. Gabbana later said he hadn’t posted those comments, claiming his Instagram account had been hacked. But the denials were met with skepticism. Gabbana and co-founder Domenico Dolce issued an apology, and canceled the Shanghai show just hours before it was set to begin.
What not to wear: Still, the fiasco is far from over, says Maryland Smith’s Yajin Wang. Dolce & Gabbana likely didn’t anticipate the wide rebuke its ad campaign would prompt, nor that so many Chinese models and celebrities who were set to participate in the event would bail as quickly as they did. That withdrawal of support and a string of boycotts are detrimental.
Fashion advice: Luxury products are meant to signify social status and prestige, Wang says. But no amount of luxury can undo the ill will that’s spread like rapid fire through a country that’s home to more than 1.3 billion people. She offers Dolce & Gabbana advice as it seeks to make amends. Read more...