Model Liz Kennedy: "Suicide is Not Fashion"

Burberry apologises for controversial hoodie design.
Thursday 21 February 2019

Model Liz Kennedy: "Suicide is Not Fashion"

Burberry in trouble for controversial hoodie. Photo: CNN

Fashion brand Burberry has apologised for showcasing a hoodie that featured a noose around the neck during its show at London Fashion Week. The retailer said it has removed the item from its collection, after criticism from one of its own models led to an online backlash.

Model Liz Kennedy who wore the outfit on the runway, took to her Instagram to voice her concern. “Suicide is not fashion,” she wrote on Instagram. “It is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway.”

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@burberry @riccardotisci17 Suicide is not fashion. It is not glamorous nor edgy and since this show is dedicated to the youth expressing their voice, here I go. Riccardo Tisci and everyone at Burberry it is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway. 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. 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. I left my fitting extremely triggered after seeing this look (even though I did not wear it myself). Feeling as though I was right back where I was when I was going through an experience with suicide in my family. Also to add in they briefly hung one from the ceiling (trying to figure out the knot) and were laughing about it in the dressing room. I had asked to speak to someone about it but the only thing I was told to do was to write a letter. I had a brief conversation with someone but all that it entailed was “it’s fashion. Nobody cares about what’s going on in your personal life so just keep it to yourself” well I’m sorry but this is an issue bigger than myself. The issue is not about me being upset, there is a bigger picture here of what fashion turns a blind eye to or does to gain publicity. A look so ignorantly put together and a situation so poorly handled. I am ashamed to have been apart of the show. #burberry. I did not post this to disrespect the designer or the brand but to simply express an issue I feel very passionate about.

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She added, “I had asked to speak to someone about it but the only thing I was told to do was to write a letter.” Kennedy also mentioned the “horrifying history of lynching” that the noose shaped evoked, a connection that was also picked up on by critics on social media.

Kennedy also claimed that staff were joking about the design before the show, while hanging the noose from a ceiling. “I had a brief conversation with someone but all that it entailed was ‘it’s fashion. Nobody cares about what’s going on in your personal life so just keep it to yourself,'” she said.

Marco Gobbetti, Burberry chief executive officer, said in a statement, “We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection. “Though the design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake,” he added. Gobbetti said he called Kennedy to apologise after becoming aware of the product.

The item featured in Burberry’s Autumn/Winter collection, named “Tempest,” debuted in London on Sunday. The show’s designer, Burberry’s chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci said, “I am so deeply sorry for the distress that has been caused as a result of one of the pieces in my show on Sunday.”

“While the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive. It was never my intention to upset anyone. It does not reflect my values nor Burberry’s and we have removed it from the collection. I will make sure that this does not happen again,” he added.

Source: Rob Picheta/CNN International

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