Gucci has pulled a £688 (approx R12 000) jumper from sale after a backlash over its racist ‘blackface’ appearance.
The fashion label’s "balaclava knit" jumper is designed to cover the bottom part of the face with big red lips.
But according to some outraged Twitter users, the design bears a striking resemblance to a "golliwog", a black rag doll associated with racist caricatures.
One user wrote: "Gucci made a very racist sweater. I still can’t figure out why they thought this was ok?!"
Others pointed out that Gucci’s climbdown coincided with the start of Black History Month in the US.
See some reactions to the controversial sweater:
So @gucci puts out a sweater that looks like blackface.
On Black History Month….
And then issues an apology because they didn’t know that blackface images are racist.
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) February 7, 2019
I refuse to believe NOBODY at @gucci realised this would create a ‘black face’ racial firestorm.
…unless every member of their staff is a complete halfwit….
..which leads me to suspect they did it deliberately…
…which, if true, makes Gucci despicably cynical. pic.twitter.com/0paM2wgM7G
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 7, 2019
How does this keep happening with supposedly ‘luxury’ brands? No-one at Gucci clocked the similarity between the racist imagery of their $890 blackface jumper and Prada’s keychain – the latter of which was pulled from stores less than two months ago? Or do they just not care? pic.twitter.com/pNxTbuJeXV
— Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff (@CharlieBCuff) February 7, 2019
The product description read: "Inspired by vintage ski masks, multicoloured knitted balaclavas walked the runway, adding a mysterious feel to this collection."
Gucci said it "deeply apologises for the offence caused" by the jumper.