Dolce & Gabbana has canceled a fashion show in Shanghai amid accusations of racism over its latest ad campaign, in which the Italian fashion brand published on the Chinese social media site Weibo a video showing a Chinese model using chopsticks to try to eat Italian food.
Weibo users accused Dolce & Gabbana of trivializing Chinese culture and depicting Chinese women in a racist way. The video was shared widely on social media, then the hashtag #BoycottDolce began to circulate.
Dolce & Gabbana has apologized after being accused of racially offensive posts on its Instagram account but claimed that the posts were written by hackers and its legal office was urgently investigating.
A statement released later on Wednesday said that the Shanghai show was created especially with the brand’s love and passion for China and all the people around the world who love Dolce & Gabbana. What happened was very unfortunate not only for the company but also for all the people who worked day and night to prepare for the show.
Although some of Chinese biggest celebrities such as Zhang Ziyi, Li Bingbing, Wang Junkai, Chen Kun had been invited to attend the fashion show in Shanghai, many celebrities announced to cancel their appearances at the show on Wednesday. Additional, the Asia Pacific region ambassador for the brand, Dilmurat, has announced on Weibo that she would terminate her contract with Dolce & Gabbana.
This is not the first time this high-end brand has been accused of racism towards China. Last April, they posted pictures on Weibo that showed indigent people in Beijing’s run-down areas pictured with models ahead of a catwalk show in the city. The pictures were criticized for stamping Chinese history by showing Beijing’s old parts, rather than more modern pictures of the city.
The controversy could cause a financial blow to the Dolce & Gabbana company because it has shops in 25 cities of China which accounts for almost a third of the global luxury market.