What Will Happen to Dolce & Gabbana Following Their Controversy in China?
Dolce & Gabbana has had its fair share of controversy over the years, but probably none as troubling as their recent fiasco in China.
The Italian fashion house’s current struggles stem from a controversial ad campaign that was released last week ahead of the company's 500-look runway show that was originally set for last Wednesday in Shanghai. The video, which many called racist, depicted an Asian model struggling to eat Italian food with chopsticks amid racy commentary. Following the incident, Stefano Gabbana’s offensive comments regarding Chinese people, from his personal Instagram account, soon circulated online which only made matters worse for the Italian designers.
Despite Gabbana denying that he wrote the comments, the design duo was forced to cancel the runway presentation amid accusations of racism. But now it seems like the fashion show is the least of their worries, because according to WWD, the fashion brand is facing “intense backlash” from Chinese fashion influencers and celebrities as well as major Chinese e-commerce sites like Tmall and JD.com that are boycotting D&G products online.
Domenico Dolce and Gabbana made efforts to rectify the situation by issuing a video apology last Friday.
“We have always been in love with China,” Dolce said in the video. “We love your culture and we certainly have much to learn. That is why we are sorry if we made mistakes in the way we expressed ourselves.”
Gabbana continued, adding, “We will never forget this experience and it will certainly never happen again. From the bottom of our hearts, we ask for forgiveness.”
However, it seems like much more than an apology is needed at this point. According to an estimate from WWD, with China accounting for roughly 30 percent of the brand’s sales, the current fallout from their racist ad campaign could put “some 400 million Euros” at risk for the fashion house — which is a big deal.
Outcry has yet to die down, and some are calling for more drastic measures, namely the removal of Gabbana from the label. WWD revealed that a number of sources wonder if “perhaps Gabbana would be sacrificed and ousted from the company, which is majority owned by the Dolce family.” Could Dolce & Gabbana soon be known as just “Dolce”?
Honestly, it wouldn’t be that crazy of an idea given that Gabbana seems to be behind most of the controversies trailing the brand. Let’s not forget, it was Gabbana who infamously criticized Selena Gomez’s appearance calling her “so ugly.” He was also responsible for calling one of Chiara Ferragni’s Dior wedding dresses “cheap”.
Regardless of how the chips fall, hopefully the fashion label is able to learn from its mistakes — and ultimately, win back the Chinese luxury consumers it has alienated — before it’s too late.