Ital­ian brand caught in racism con­tro­versy faces hol­i­day sea­son woes

Global Times - Weekend - - TRENDS - Xin­hua

Busi­ness for Ital­ian lux­ury brand Dolce & Gab­bana (D&G), re­cently caught in a racism con­tro­versy that an­gered many in China, is also im­pacted in Man­hat­tan as lo­cal Chi­nese-Amer­i­cans and vis­i­tors from China seem to be boy­cotting the brand.

Only a few Chi­nese or Chi­nese-Amer­i­can cus­tomers could be spot­ted en­ter­ing into D&G stores or pa­tron­iz­ing the Ital­ian fash­ion de­signer’s spe­cial coun­ters in Man­hat­tan in New York in re­cent days, the Chi­nese-lan­guage news­pa­per The China Press and the Chi­nese-lan­guage TV news chan­nel Si­no­vi­sion both re­ported on Novem­ber 24.

“Af­ter nearly three hours of wait­ing at the en­trance of the Fifth Av­enue D&G store on Black Fri­day, I barely saw any Chi­nese faces go­ing in,” a Si­no­vi­sion re­porter said in a news pro­gram run by the chan­nel.

Black Fri­day, which falls on the day af­ter Thanks­giv­ing, marks the start of the big­gest sales and shop­ping sea­son in the US.

A Chi­nese-Amer­i­can sur­named Wang told The China Press that she used to like the D&G brand a lot, but the lat­est con­tro­versy “changed my per­cep­tion,” which made her de­cide to “quit vis­it­ing D&G stores this hol­i­day sea­son.”

“Al­though D&G and its de­sign­ers have apol­o­gized for what hap­pened, it seems to me that they did so just to save their mar­kets and were not sin­cere enough,” Wang added.

Ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per, sales staff at D&G stores and coun­ters in Man­hat­tan have been re­luc­tant to com­ment on the re­cent con­tro­versy or its im­pact on their busi­ness, but some have in­sisted that they are still ex­pect­ing an in­crease in cus­tomer flow and sales rev­enues for this hol­i­day sea­son.

Two Chi­nese stu­dents from the State Uni­ver­sity of New York at Stony Brook still made some pur­chases at the D&G Fifth Av­enue store on Fri­day. The two, iden­ti­fied only by their sur­names Ding and Zhao, told The China Press that they also be­lieved the Ital­ian de­signer’s apolo­gies “came too late and lacked sin­cer­ity.”

D&G pro­voked a pub­lic out­cry af­ter some short videos it re­leased to pro­mote a fash­ion event in Shang­hai were ac­cused of cul­tural in­sen­si­tiv­ity and racism. To make things worse, the com­pany’s co­founder Ste­fano Gab­bana later got into an on­line quar­rel with some ne­ti­zens.

The im­pact of the in­ci­dent has been con­sid­er­able.

The D&G Shang­hai show had to be can­celed af­ter many Chi­nese celebri­ties de­cided to boy­cott it, and Chi­nese e-com­merce gi­ants like Alibaba and also re­moved D&G prod­ucts from their plat­forms amid the es­ca­lat­ing row.

On Novem­ber 22, the com­pany founders posted a sub­ti­tled video that stated: “We of­fer our sin­cer­est apolo­gies to Chi­nese peo­ple world­wide.”

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