Dolce & Gabbana products have been dropped by e-commerce giants Alibaba, JD and Yoox Net-A-Porter and its Shanghai fashion show has been cancelled in the wake of the brand’s latest racism furore.
The luxury fashion brand came under fire this week for a Chinese social media campaign depicting an Asian model trying to eat Italian food with chopsticks. The campaign was slammed by Chinese consumers who deemed it racist and accused the brand of trivialising its culture.
The situation worsened when D&G founder Stefano Gabbana responded to the criticisms on Instagram by posting a series of insulting messages.
According to screenshots posted by Diet Prada, the verified account of Stefano Gabbana sent messages saying, “From now on in all the interview [sp] that I will do international I will say that the country of [series of poop emojis] is China” and “China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia,”.
While Gabbana later claimed his Instagram account and the official D&G Instagram account had been hacked, the backlash from Chinese celebrities, modelling agencies, government authorities and consumers has been swift.
Leading Chinese e-commerce platforms Alibaba and JD.com were joined by Suning, VIPshop, Secoo and Netease in dropping the Italian fashion house’s products from sale. Amazon China and Yoox Net-A-Porter have also removed products, with the later dropping the brand from its Net-A-Porter, Mr Porter and Yoox.com platforms.
Meanwhile, high-profile Chinese celebrities and KOLs including actors Li Bingbing, Chen Kun, Diliraba, Zhang Ziyi and actor-singer Huang Xiaoming were among a host of stars distancing themselves from the brand and vowing not to buy D&G products.
According to WWD, China Bentley Modelling agency released an official statement saying 24 of their models who were booked to walk in D&G’s first Shanghai fashion show were boycotting the event.
The Chinese government also stepped in with the Cultural and Tourism Department ordering Dolce & Gabbana to cancel the event just a few hours before it was scheduled to take place.
Chinese consumers have flooded social media platforms Weibo and WeChat criticising the brand and posting videos and images of D&G products being destroyed, burned and used to clean floors and line animal litter trays. Security guards and police officers have been stationed outside Dolce & Gabbana stores in Beijing and Shanghai.
The latest backlash follows a backlash in April last year when Dolce & Gabbana launched the #DGLovesChina campaign featuring glamourous models amongst Beijing’s historic sites such as The Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and historic hutongs. The campaign was criticised by Chinese consumers as being offensive and depicting China as backwards.
China is one of the world’s most important luxury markets globally, with Chinese consumers are expected to account for nearly half (44%) of the global luxury market by 2025.