Is Burberry glamorizing suicide?
London Fashion Week 2019 will be remembered for the one huge controverse, created by Burberry’s fashion designer Riccardo Tisci. It’s all about the sophomore collection he created, in which he dedicated his show “to the youth of today, to them having the courage to scream for what they believe in, for them to find the beauty in expressing their voice.” The idea was great, the way he carried it out was less so, as he came with a ‘noose hoodie’. It contained a cord, that one might be able to use to end their own life with. Soon afterwards the brand was accused of glamorizing suicide. Why were people so offended?
The heroic Liz Kennedy
After coming across the picture on Instagram, posted by model Liz Kennedy, I was horrified by this. Mrs. Kennedy makes some great points about the resemblance of lynching and suicide. She wrote “suicide is not fashion.” She also wasn’t afraid to point out that people were hanging it on the ceiling to check the knot and even made fun of it. Another important message she shared in her Instagram post, was that she was told to “keep her personal life to herself.” I was utterly shocked by these words on her page.
Burberry’s chief executive, Marco Gorbetti, came with a statement pretty soon. He told the media he spoke to Liz Kennedy and they removed all content with the noose hoodie from all platforms and from the collection all together. They said it was part of the marine theme that ran throughout their collection, but Burberry only realised later that it was insensitive and a mistake – coming from their statement. Tisci himself also spoke some words about his mistake: “It was never my intention to upset anyone. It does not reflect my values nor Burberry’s and we have removed it from the collection. I will make sure that this does not happen again.”
The pain in our hearts
I must admit, my heart started beating a thousand times quicker, coming across Liz Kennedy’s post. Suicide is something that goes hand in hand with depression and many other mental illnesses that people from all over the world suffer from. Suicide rates are rising instead of dropping. People still suffer from suicidal thoughts and many attempt to commit suicide. Higher suicide rates occur in our generation, meaning more people suffer from mental illness. Not to mention that lots of people might experience their friends or family struggling with suicidal thoughts rather than having them themselves.
In the end, people got upset over the fact that Burberry made fashion out of suicide, instead of making an actual representation of the youth. The offense has been answered and they removed the noose hoodie, but the damage was done already. Nonetheless we should take into account that we live in a decade where we react sensitively on everything. Whenever there is something we disagree with, voices will be raised. This concept is rather new, in the past fashion brands made similar mistakes, but back then no one was able to comment on that, in a proper way. We should be glad this changed and we have more freedom of speech. However, we should not forget that sometimes, people might look at things from a different perspective, and offense comes easily these days.
Burberry did not mean to offend anyone, they tried to celebrate our generation. Sadly, they failed horrendously. Burberry is still a lovely brand – this article is not critique. This article has the mere purpose of explaining why this was seen as a lesser move from Burberry’s side. Let’s hope they won’t make it again. Remember, suicide is a serious matter and not fashion.