Recently actress Zendaya collaborated with Tommy Hilfiger and I was compelled to buy one of her dresses but had some reluctance. I recalled rumors about Tommy Hilfiger from many years ago;  Tommy allegedly made a statement about his clothing not being made for people of color to wear. This brought me to do a quick Google search and I watched an interview Tommy did with Wendy Williams three years ago. On there, Wendy and Tommy discussed the rumors from decades ago and I learned that he had never made any statement demeaning my community. I had judged him for something he had never even said or done. I was absolutely wrong. 

I think of H&M having a black young man modeling a sweatshirt that read “the Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” in January 2018. People were outraged by H&M and boycotted the brand. The black model’s mom neither took issue with the sweatshirt nor did she feel it was racially insensitive. However, H&M took responsibility for the backlash, apologized about the design insensitivity, and hired an inclusion and diversity manager. 

Most recently, Gucci had a design on their sweater that resembled blackface. Many people including celebrities became all up in harms, calling for a boycott of the brand.   Gucci apologized for the poor design choice and said they’d do better. However,  Floyd Mayweather had an opposite reaction to the Gucci mishap. He didn’t feel like boycotting Gucci was necessary. He pointed out the hypocrisy of many celebrities. For this reason, he said he would continue to wear Gucci. Floyd stated we should find a solution to the “problems we’re facing as a whole.” 

I agree that finding a solution is necessary. Research and education comes to mind with brands when designing to ensure nothing offends one race. I am happy that Gucci started their Changemaker’s program which is a direct result of a conversation Gucci had with fashion maven and Gucci collaborator, Dapper Dan. The Gucci Changemaker’s program promotes diversity and inclusion. Conversely, I also think it’s important for consumers to research brands when hearing rumors to distinguish fact from fiction. I went a good two decades without buying Tommy Hilfiger when he wasn’t even guilty as charged. I was wrong and for that, I apologize. 

All and all, people including brands/fashion houses make mistakes and use poor judgement; that makes us human.  I believe that if someone is in the wrong with comments or actions made, taking ownership, apologizing, and correcting behavior is necessary. Most importantly, we should forgive because no one is perfect except Jesus. I went ahead and bought that Zendaya/Tommy Hilfilger dress. I’ve also started wearing my Gucci belt again. Here’s my must buy belts that’ll elevate any outfit from nondescript to dope. 

 

Leather belt with Double G buckle by Gucci

 

 

Pegase belt buckle & Reversible leather strap by Hermès

 

T CLASP WAIST BELT by Tom Ford

4 Replies to “Mistakes, Apologies, and Forgiveness: Brands We Love but…..”

  1. Oh!!! You stopped wearing your gucci belt after the issue?? Lol. Well as human being i feel we are very sensitive to things in general. Where i think the brands got it wrong is stereotyping by infusing race into production. People who are black will obviously react considering the fact that the owners of this labels are white. I think going forward if any production is going to be made, leave it open.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I think that research and education needs to be a part of any process. I am happy Dapper Dan has a proverbial “seat at the table” and is able to provide his input with Gucci now.

  2. Such a great post! I also believed the rumor until this post! Crazy … I hadn’t worn or purchased anything TH since I was in high school!

    1. Thanks so much. It’s crazy how this is a two decade long rumor that isn’t even true. Several people have said with this post that they believed the rumor too.

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