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Gucci and Adidas Apologise and Drop Products Called RacistND

Tiffany Hsu & Elizabeth Paton, The New York Times, Thursday 7th February

Less than a week into Black History Month, Adidas and Gucci have apologised and pulled products criticized as racist. The Gucci item: an $890 black-knit women’s balaclava that could be pulled up over the lower half of a woman’s face, which included bright red lips ringing an opening for the mouth. This aspect was widely denounced on social media as evoking imagery of blackface. In Adidas’s case, the brand included an almost entirely white pair of shoes in a line of clothing and sneakers inspired by the Harlem renaissance movement and meant to commemorate Black History Month. Criticism of the designs spread quickly on Twitter, prompting the companies to act amid separate firestorms over the fashion industry’s pattern of racially offensive choices. Gucci released a statement on Twitter late Wednesday, saying it “deeply apologizes for the offense caused” by the balaclava’s design. “We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make,” the company said in the statement. “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.” Earlier that day, Adidas said it would pull the shoes at issue, part of the “Ultraboost Uncaged” line, from stores. The company said in a statement that the $180 sneakers “did not reflect the spirit or philosophy of how Adidas believes we should recognize and honor Black History Month.”

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