Burberry Apologizes After Controversial Runway Accessory Sparks Backlash

A model called out the design on social media: "Suicide is not fashion." 

Burberry has issued an apology after it was called out on social media by one of its own models for sending a noose-like accessory down the runway at its London Fashion Week show earlier this month.

Marco Gobetti, CEO of the British heritage brand, said in a statement to CBS that he is "deeply sorry for the distress" caused by the rope necklace that was hung from a model's neck as she walked the runway. Creative director Riccardo Tisci, who has been at the house for just 11 months time, also said, "While the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive," in a statement to the outlet.

Burberry Noose

Model Liz Kennedy first brought the accessory to the attention of her followers with an Instagram posted on Monday of this week. She captioned an image of the runway look — a mud-colored hoodie styled with an espresso brown coat and topped with a "necklace" with a knot resembling a noose — "suicide is not fashion."

"[Suicide] is not glamorous nor edgy and since this show is dedicated to the youth expressing their voice, here I go," she continued, referencing the designer's dedication to the "youth of today," which he posted on Instagram.

"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," she wrote. "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."

She noted that she left her fitting feeling, "extremely triggered," and "feeling as though I was right back where I was when I was going through an experience with suicide in my family." Kennedy added that when she brought up her discomfort she was told that the "it's fashion" and was ignored.

"I am ashamed to have been part of the show," she concluded, before noting that she intended no disrespect to Tisci.

Tisci is not the only designer to have come under fire for bringing noose imagery into the fashion world. Henry Levy, the designer behind Enfants Riches Deprimes — a brand which has been worn by Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian — who is perhaps best known for his budding relationship with singer Demi Lovato, drew criticism for a $7,000 cashmere noose which he sold on his website.

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