GUCCI has withdrawn a woollen jumper from sale after the item came in for criticism for resembling a blackface.
The offending £689 garment covered the lower half of the face and featured a red cut-out around the mouth but provoked backlash on social media.
Has the brand apologised?
In a statement the fashion giant said it “deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper”.
“We can confirm that the item has been immediately removed from our online store and all physical stores,” it said.
“We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond.”
What were the reactions on Twitter?
Blackface has its origins in theatrical make-up used to by non-black performers to represent a caricature of a black person.
It began in the 19th century and is seen as perpetuating offensive and racist stereotypes of African Americans, including minstrels
On Twitter, many criticised the design for invoking such stereotypes.
“One day I am going to deliver a prolific dissertation on how it feels to live in a continuous cycle of disrespect as a black man,” wrote Michael Bonner
“Gigantic brands like @gucci create offensive “fashion”, quickly apologize, and then state “We did not know”.
Keisha Ka’oir added: “Today Gucci released their Balaclava Knit Top. Sigh. Really Gucci? Really?”
Some drew parallels with the controversy after Prada it withdrew products after some items displayed in a Manhattan were seen as depicting blackface imagery.
Images surfaced of some merchandise depicting monkey-like figures with black faces and large red lips.
At the time Prada issued as statement apologising and saying the product did not have “any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface”.
The brand said it “never had the intention of offending anyone and we abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery”.
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“How does this keep happening with supposedly ‘luxury’ brands?,” said Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff.
“No-one at Gucci clocked the similarity between the racist imagery of their $890 blackface jumper and Prada’s keychain – the latter of which was pulled from stores less than two months ago? Or do they just not care?”