Dolce And Gabbana’s ‘Tribute To China’ Didn’t Go Over So Well With The Chinese
Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, founders of famed high fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana have been preparing for the ‘#DGTheGreatShow’ scheduled to happen in Shanghai.
The brand had been teasing advertisements leading up to the show, but one particular post led them in hot water and had it the number one topic on Weibo, a Chinese platform that is similar to Twitter, with more than 120 million reads by the afternoon.
Consumers and users were angry over a campaign that featured a Chinese model attempting to eat pizza and spaghetti with chopsticks.
If you were going to call this an accident or mistake, screenshots from an instant message Stefano Gabbana allegedly had with an Instagram user reveals him stating “China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia.” Well damn.
Chinese celebrities, such as actress Li Bingbing and singer Wang Junkai, who is an ambassador for Dolce and Gabbana were clear that they would boycott the show. Junkai has also canceled his ambassadorship with the brand stating that a partnership is based on mutual respect of each other’s history and culture. Whew!
The brand announced that they were “postponing” the show, with no date as to when it would happen.
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Our Instagram account has been hacked. So has the account of Stefano Gabbana. Our legal office is urgently investigating. We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts, comments and direct messages. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China. Dolce & Gabbana 的官方Intragram 账号和 Stefano Gabbana 的 Instagram 账号被盗，我们已经立即通过法律途径解决。我们为这些不实言论给中国和中国人民造成的影响和伤害道歉。我们对中国和中国文化始终一贯的热爱与尊重。
The brand posted a message on their Instagram on Tuesday evening claiming that their Instagram had been hacked as well as the account of Stefano Gabbana. They wrote, “Our legal office is urgently investigating. We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts, comments and direct messages. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China.”
What could have been a major money maker for the brand, focusing directly on the world’s largest spending power, turned into a major racial debacle. According to think tank group Economist Intelligence Unit, the proportion of the Chinese population earning upper middle to high incomes in china will expand from 10 percent to 35 percent by 2030. Luxury brands (and brands in general) are realizing the importance of the Chinese consumer to help them take their revenue to the next level.
As brands look to satisfying global customers, diversity and inclusion will be even more important to their overall success. It’s clear that Dolce and Gabbana wanted to woo the Chinese customer but did the exact opposite.
What do you think about Dolce and Gabbana’s advertisement with the chopsticks? Was it culturally insensitive? What about the DM’s with Stefano Gabbana, do you think it was really a hack? Sound off in our comment section.