Fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have released an apology video proclaiming their love for China, after a series of racially insensitive social medial posts potentially cut them off from one of the world’s biggest luxury goods markets.
“We have always been in love with China,” said Dolce, in a video posted to YouTube as well as the social networking site Weibo. “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.”
“We will never forget this experience and it will certainly never happen again,” said Gabbana, adding that the pair asked for forgiveness from the bottom of their hearts. The video ended with the two saying “sorry” in Chinese.
Earlier this week, Dolce & Gabbana copped heavy criticism over a series of promotional videos for their planned Shanghai fashion extravaganza The Great Show, showing a Chinese woman attempting to eat various Italian foods with a set of chopsticks.
Soon after, fashion writer Michaela Travona revealed that she’d had a hostile exchange of DMs with Gabbana, in which he defended the campaign and made derogatory remarks about China, describing the country as a series of poop emojis.
Various high-profile Chinese celebrities began to rally around the #BoycottDolce hashtag, and the backlash became so intense that the brand cancelled The Great Show, which had been billed as one of its biggest ever events outside of Italy.
Actress Zhang Ziyi said that the brand had “disgraced” itself and that she would never buy their designs again. D&G products then began to disappear from various Chinese websites, and the boycott spread to Hong Kong, where upscale department store Lane Crawford pulled products from the shelves.
At the time, D&G claimed that their Instagram account along with that of Gabbana himself had been hacked, although this apology video suggests that they realise the extent of the damage that has been done in China, which accounts for up to 30 percent of global luxury goods sales.
In a follow-up post yesterday, Diet Prada said that the loud and clear message to D&G and other designers is to “respect the consumers of the markets you want to profit from. You are not bestowing them a gift […], you’re taking their money.”