Burberry has apologized for a garment that features a noose around the neck that premiered during London Fashion Week on Sunday. In a statement to CBS News, Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti said he's "deeply sorry for the distress" the design has caused.
Burberry Creative Director Riccardo Tisci also apologized. "While the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive," the designer said in a statement to CBS News.
The statement adds that Burberry has removed the hoodie from the autumn-winter collection, along with all images featuring the look.
The knotted rope disturbed model Liz Kennedy, who spoke out against Burberry on Instagram.
"Suicide is not fashion," Kennedy wrote, sharing a photo of the hoodie. "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."
Tisci wrote on Instagram that the runway show was dedicated to the "youth of today." The designer said he wanted to recognize youths who have to "scream for what they believe in, for them to find beauty in expressing their voice." In the post, which Kennedy screenshot but appears to have been deleted from Tisci's page, the designer thanked the city of London for being the place where he discovered who he truly is.
Kennedy, who walked in several runway shows during the city's fashion week, questioned how anyone at Burberry could overlook the noose, "especially in a line dedicated to young girls and youth."
"Not to mention the rising suicide rates world wide," Kennedy's Instagram caption continued. "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." The model said seeing the noose brought her back to what she experienced when family members took their lives.
Kennedy said she asked to speak with someone about the noose and was told to write a letter. Someone told her, "It's fashion. Nobody cares about what's going on in your personal life so just keep it to yourself," the model claims.
"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," she wrote. "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."