(SKY NEWS) — Gucci has been embroiled in a racism row after shoppers complained a women’s jumper resembled “blackface”.
The Italian fashion brand faced a barrage of criticism after images emerged of the “balaclava jumper”, which features a cut-out at the mouth that is outlined in red.
Gucci has issued an apology “for the offence caused” and pulled the item from its stores and website.
However, the item is still available to buy for $890 (£688) on shopping website Spring, where it is described as being part of “The Fall Winter 2018 runway show” which was “inspired by vintage ski masks”.
“Multi-coloured knitted balaclavas walked the runway, adding a mysterious feel to this collection,” the item listing says.
Many people voiced criticism of the jumper’s appearance after images were circulated online.
“Haute Couture Blackface for the millennials???” one person tweeted.
Another added: “Gucci made a very racist sweater. I still can’t figure out why they thought this was ok?!”
One woman wrote on Twitter: “I am a Gucci fan, and I was going to buy a jacquard cardigan because it’s a forever piece, but until they and other luxury brands hire some people of colour to consider the imagery of items like the ‘blackface’ balaclava sweater… it’s a no for me.”
In a statement, Gucci said: “We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.
“We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organisation and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond.”