The designer duo behind luxury Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana have issued an apology to the Chinese in an effort to stall a growing backlash against their label after a social media campaign soured and leaked comments were deemed racist.
In a video released Friday, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana expressed their love and respect for Chinese culture.
“Our families have always taught us to respect the various cultures of the world, and for this, we want to apologise if we have made mistakes in interpreting your culture,” said Mr Dolce. “We have always loved China; we have visited many cities… and certainly we still have much to learn.”
“We offer our sincerest apologies to Chinese people worldwide,” said Mr Gabbana.
The video, which ended with Mr Dolce and Mr Gabbana saying, “Apologies,” in Mandarin, is the second apology issued in recent days after their eponymous fashion brand fell under fire this week.
First, the brand was criticised for three videos in an official online ad campaign, featuring a Chinese model in D&G’s latest designs struggling to eat Italian dishes – pizza, cannoli and spaghetti – with a pair of chopsticks, which critics said stereotyped Chinese culture and women.
Then, leaked comments online appeared to show Mr Gabbana describing China as a “country of shit.” The brand said Mr Gabbana’s individual social media accounts, as well as D&G’s official ones, had been hacked, leading to the release of unauthorised comments.
D&G swiftly removed the controversial videos from the ad campaign on its Chinese social media account, though they remained on the brand’s Instagram.
Still, the damage was done. The backlash led D&G to cancel last minute its highly-anticipated fashion show in Shanghai, a multi-million pound production that had been slated for Wednesday. Retailers in China have pulled the brand’s products from their shelves and websites.
Chinese celebrities and brand ambassadors publicly expressed discontent and some even axed their contracts with D&G. Protesters were also spotted at the brand’s flagship shop in Milan.