I haven’t seen any official numbers; but in terms of public perception, Gucci is still attempting to recover from that Blackface-esque, gollywog type sweater they released. The wool balaclava sweater had been in stores and on shelves for months but the similarities between it and Blackface gave more than a few Black people pause.
The image of the sweater caused several Black rappers to call for a boycott of the luxury brand. And while Gucci issued an apology and tapped Dapper Dan to launch a community fund and scholarship program, there are still people who don’t believe the brand has done enough to make up for this faux pas. Not only that, they believe that the brand should feel the consequences of their mistake for a little while longer.
Black people have been pretty unified on this front, with the exception of Kodak Black—who has a problematic take on most thing. And those Black folk who haven’t necessarily supported the boycott, they’ve kept quiet about it.
But recently when Robin Givhan from The Washington Post asked supermodel Naomi Campbell, who is a member of the brand’s new advisory committee on diversity and inclusion, about the controversy and the response to it, she had this to say: “I think it’s ridiculous for people to say they were burning their [Gucci] clothes. Don’t burn your clothes. It wasn’t intentional.”
From there, she shifted to speak about the new initiatives Gucci has enacted since the sweater went viral for all the wrong reasons.
She spoke about Gucci’s scholarship program in Africa for students who have an interest in fashion.
“In a lot of countries, football was a way of getting out. Now those interested in fashion and creativity have a way.”
Campbell said that “regardless of what happened, I was always going to Gucci.” —Though the context with which she made the comment is unclear.
The brand’s CEO Marco Bizzarri told the Post, that the company was shocked by the controversy because it had been released and available to the public long before anyone likened it to racist imagery. But Bizzarri said, “…in the digital era, if someone says this is blackface, it’s blackface…It was hard to see such a small thing put in danger everything we believe.”