Dolce & Gabbana cancels China show after racial row

The Italian fashion house quickly issued a statement apologizing and claimed its social media accounts have been hacked. (Reuters)
Updated 21 November 2018
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Dolce & Gabbana cancels China show after racial row

  • ‘Foreign companies operating in China should respect China and respect Chinese people’
  • ‘We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China’

BEIJING: Dolce & Gabbana canceled a long-planned fashion show in Shanghai Wednesday after an outcry over racially offensive posts on its social media accounts, a setback for the company in the world’s most important luxury market.
The Italian fashion house quickly issued a statement apologizing and saying the accounts as well as that of its namesake designer Stefano Gabbana had been hacked, but it did little to calm a brewing social media uproar in China.
Some of China’s biggest celebrities had been billed to attend the “Great Show” event, but on Wednesday one after another announced their withdrawal.
“Our mother country is more important than anything, we appreciate the vigor and beauty of our cultural heritage,” said the management of Wang Junkai, a hugely popular singer in boyband TFBoys, as they announced his withdrawal.
“I love my mother country,” actress Li Bingbing told her 42 million fans on Weibo.
The controversy arose after Dolce & Gabbana posted short clips on Instagram earlier this week showing a woman eating pizza and spaghetti with chopsticks that some deemed culturally insensitive.
It erupted into a firestorm after screenshots circulated of an Instagram user’s chat with the famously volatile Stefano Gabbana in which he used five smiling poop emojis to talk about China and launched insults at the country and its people.
Even China’s Communist Youth League jumped into the fray.
“Foreign companies operating in China should respect China and respect Chinese people,” the youth league tweeted to Dolce & Gabbana on Weibo.
Actor Talu Wang also tweeted on Weibo: “Respect is more important than anything.”
As the backlash escalated, Dolce & Gabbana took to Instagram and Weibo saying its account and that of designer Stefano Gabbana had been hacked and that its legal office was “urgently investigating” the matter.
“We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China,” the company said on Instagram.
Dolce & Gabbana said separately on its verified Weibo account that the show “has been rescheduled,” though it did not specify the reason nor did it give a new date for the event.
“We apologize for the inconvenience,” it said.
The controversy marks the latest backpedaling by a foreign company for offending Chinese consumers with advertising or information that insults China or clashes with Beijing’s official position.
Earlier this year, German automaker Mercedes-Benz apologized for “hurting the feelings” of people in China after its Instagram account quoted Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, seen as a separatist by Beijing.


Yousra Elsadig brings her modest style to LFW

An image from the show in London. (Frederico Velez)
Updated 21 February 2019
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Yousra Elsadig brings her modest style to LFW

DUBAI: An independent showcase of emerging designers held during London Fashion Week, Fashion Scout once again lived up to its name — scouting out and presenting talented designers from across the globe from Feb. 15-17.

Arab News went along to a showing by a UK-based designer Yousra Elsadig, whose Boutique De Nana collection paid tribute to her former home country, Sudan.

“I am trying to depict the beauty of my homeland. It’s so heart-breaking to see what’s happening in Sudan. I want to dedicate this collection to my country and to put the focus on freedom, justice and peace,” she said.

Elsadig, who was named “Woman of the Year” by Barclays in 2017 and “Designer of The Year 2016 by the Modest Association of London, designs for women who want to dress modestly, but with imagination and style.

“The modest element is very important to me — women can be beautiful, feminine and modest,” she said.

Her designs have a simplicity, charm and quirkiness that comes partly from the use of recycled fabrics, as sustainability is a key message she wants to get across. 

Elsadig is unusual in combining her designer role with a full-time degree in optometry. In fact, the day before her LFW show, she sat an exam and then drove from her home in Wales to London. 

She is also the mother of two young girls, but if that’s a lot to juggle it doesn’t show. She was a bundle of warmth and energy backstage — calmly briefing the models.

Her family left Sudan when she was very young and she grew up in Canada. Her family then left Canada to live in Wales in the UK.

It was in Cardiff that she met her mentor, designer Sarah Valentin, who was teaching community sewing and textile classes with a special focus on recycling and sustainability. Valentin said she is thrilled to see Elsadig achieving such success.

“I saw her potential and creative ideas. It’s incredible that she is showing here at London Fashion Week.  I’m so proud of her,” she said.

As the models moved gracefully through the room, the clothes gave off a sense of confident, graceful and highly individual style — perfect for the modern, modest woman of today.