Published: Sun, November 25, 2018
Money | By Arnold Ball

Dolce & Gabbana say sorry, in Chinese, after race row

Dolce & Gabbana say sorry, in Chinese, after race row

The designer duo behind luxury Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana have issued an apology to the Chinese in an effort to stall a growing backlash against their label after a social media campaign soured and leaked comments were deemed racist.

Various Chinese e-commerce platforms, which are major distribution channels for D&G, reacted by removing the brand's products and recommendation and reviews about them.

Controversial comments by designers can be devastating for luxury brands.

The videos featured a female Asian model struggling to eat pizza and other Italian food with chopsticks, with a male voiceover imitating the Chinglish accent and mocking Chinese pronunciation of the brand's name.

Earlier this week, D&G cofounder Stefano Gabbana labelled China a "country of sh*t" and "ignorant dirty smelling mafia" in an inflammatory Instagram exchange. After a public outcry, the images from its Beijing advertising campaign were removed from Dolce & Gabbana's official Weibo account but a boycott for its products is still circulating on social media.

The founders of Dolce & Gabbana have apologized in a video on Chinese social media after promotional videos seen as racist and subsequent Instagram messages stoked a furor in one of the world's largest markets for luxury goods.

Some celebrities criticised and boycotted the brand, while Chinese singer Wang Junkai said he had terminated its agreement to be the brand's ambassador.

The furore is a setback for one of Italy's best-known fashion brands in China, where rivals from Louis Vuitton of LVMH to Kering's Gucci are vying to expand.

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Dolce & Gabbana's ads have been the talk of the Chinese internet this week with the Italian fashion house managing to piss off an entire nation of potential customers. "We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China".

Gabbana pleads for the community's forgiveness, revealing that the controversy certainly taught himself and Dolce a lesson. "The company gets into so many scraps that it even markets a T-shirt that reads, "#Boycott Dolce & Gabbana".

Stay tuned for more on the Dolce and Gabbana Chinese show scandal later on Dazed.

The situation escalated after an Instagram user posted screenshots of her private messages with the company's co-founder, Stefano Gabbana, who insulted China as he fought back at the accusations of racism.

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Meanwhile, several e-commerce websites in China such as Kaola and Secoo have removed the brand's products, The Guardian reported.

Referring to the cancelled show, he said many models, manufacturers and publicists from around the world worked hard on it but it was now a "wasted effort".

The ruling Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper wrote on Weibo late Wednesday: "China has always been friendly to foreign businesses".

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