Burberry’s noose hoodie, which was featured in its show at London Fashion Week has earned the brand a backlash it asked for. The hoodie in question had its strings tied in the shape of a noose and was worn by a model on the runway. Even a tween could have pointed out that putting a noose around the neck in a hoodie is plain disturbing. But worse, it could act as a trigger for people dealing with self-harm issue and suicidal thoughts. Burberry may have now apologised for showcasing the hoodie, but yet again their sorry follows footsteps of backlash. How do we take their apology seriously? When we know that they thought that putting a noose around a model’s neck like an accessory was sassy, unless someone pointed it out that it wasn’t.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • Burberry is facing backlash for tying the strings of a hoodie in shape of a noose and parading it on a runway.
  • The brand has now apologised, admitting that they made a mistake.
  • Nothing speaks death as a noose does. Fashion brands must understand that there are certain things which cannot be accessorised. 
  • Suicide and mental health issues are a growing epidemic across the globe, which can no longer be trivialised.

“Suicide is not fashion.” – Model Liz Kennedy, on Burberry’s hoodie with its string tied into a noose.

The notorious hoodie gained a lot of traction on social media after one of the participating models at London Fashion Week lashed out at the organisers for their move. “Suicide is not fashion,” Liz Kennedy wrote in a post for Instagram, also sharing a picture. She further added, “Riccardo Tisci and everyone at Burberry it is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway. How could anyone overlook this and think it would be okay to do this especially in a line dedicated to young girls and youth. The impressionable youth. Not to mention the rising suicide rates worldwide.”

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@burberry @riccardotisci17 Suicide is not fashion. It is not glamorous nor edgy and since this show is dedicated to the youth expressing their voice, here I go. Riccardo Tisci and everyone at Burberry it is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway. How could anyone overlook this and think it would be okay to do this especially in a line dedicated to young girls and youth. The impressionable youth. Not to mention the rising suicide rates world wide. Let’s not forget about the horrifying history of lynching either. There are hundreds of ways to tie a rope and they chose to tie it like a noose completely ignoring the fact that it was hanging around a neck. A massive brand like Burberry who is typically considered commercial and classy should not have overlooked such an obvious resemblance. I left my fitting extremely triggered after seeing this look (even though I did not wear it myself). Feeling as though I was right back where I was when I was going through an experience with suicide in my family. Also to add in they briefly hung one from the ceiling (trying to figure out the knot) and were laughing about it in the dressing room. I had asked to speak to someone about it but the only thing I was told to do was to write a letter. I had a brief conversation with someone but all that it entailed was “it’s fashion. Nobody cares about what’s going on in your personal life so just keep it to yourself” well I’m sorry but this is an issue bigger than myself. The issue is not about me being upset, there is a bigger picture here of what fashion turns a blind eye to or does to gain publicity. A look so ignorantly put together and a situation so poorly handled. I am ashamed to have been apart of the show. #burberry. I did not post this to disrespect the designer or the brand but to simply express an issue I feel very passionate about.

A post shared by 🦎 (@liz.kennedy_) on

Kennedy pointed out that there are hundreds of ways to tie a rope, but the organisers chose to tie it like a noose and then went on to hang it around a model’s neck. Nothing speaks death as a noose does. This is one symbol we all strongly associate with the end of life, whether through suicide or otherwise. To try to pass off such a morbid expression as a fashion statement is beyond my sensibilities. Is death cool to the person who came up with this idea? Did the organisers who allowed a noose to parade so nakedly on a runway amidst people, thought it was witty? Or do they expect us to digest and even revere anything which comes our way from the fashion industry, because hey, it’s fashion?

Is death cool to the person who came up with this idea?

This brazen lack of sensitivity is unforgivable. India alone saw approximately 2,30,314 deaths due to suicide in 2016. Which was a culmination of a 40% increase in the number of suicide deaths from 1990 to 2016. Shockingly, 63% of these fall in the age group of 15-39 years, the young impressionable minds which have access to the internet and social media, who keep tabs on fashion trends and follow runway fashion. And that is just statistics from one country. Suicide and mental health issues are a growing epidemic across the globe, which can no longer be trivialised. Every person and industry needs to take the jarring statistics at hand seriously. We need to ensure that we all are sensitive and take sensible measures to ensure that triggers like this one are not dangled in front of the prone population.

Suicide and mental health issues are a growing epidemic across the globe, which can no longer be trivialised.

An apology on behalf of Burberry isn’t enough. Global fashion industry perhaps needs a sensitivity training. They need to understand it loud and clear that they cannot reduce certain things to fashion accessories.

Picture credit: nydailynews.com

Also Read : It’s The Simpler Things That Are The Most Important: Alexis Ohanian

 Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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