Burberry has announced a comprehensive staff support plan after it came under fire for featuring a hoodie with a noose-like fastening around the neck at London Fashion Week.
The British luxury house was accused of glamourising suicide by a model who had walked in the show and whose family had also been affected by suicide. Liz Kennedy also complained that when she raised her unease with the garment backstage at the show, she was told to keep quiet, while stylists and other models joked about it.
When CEO Marco Gobbetti and chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci learned of the incident they immediately issued an apology and the garment was withdrawn from sale. Gobbetti also called Kennedy to apologise.
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These steps include: 1. Increasing our understanding We will strengthen our understanding of and sensitivity to a range of perspectives to help us live the values we hold and be truly inclusive. We will: . • Introduce additional training for all employees, including senior management • Establish employee councils focused on diversity and inclusion • Assemble an advisory board of external experts 2. Diversifying the pipeline of talent We will evolve our pipeline of talent to ensure we better reflect the world we live in and build a more diverse talent base for the future. We will: . • Strengthen goals to ensure diverse representation in our employee base • Expand our creative arts scholarship internationally to support students from diverse backgrounds and provide full-time employment for 50 graduates from the programme over the next five years • Extend internationally Burberry Inspire, our in-school arts and culture programme designed to help young people overcome challenging circumstances and see future opportunity in the creative industries 3. Championing those who help others We will add to our support of organisations promoting diversity and inclusion and providing assistance to people in crisis, including the Samaritans, who offer a safe, confidential place to which people can turn
Today Gobbetti issued a statement via Buberry’s Instagram page to say that the company had taken several steps to ensure such incidents don’t happen again. Measures include:
- – the introduction of additional training for all employees, including senior management
- – establishing employee councils focused on diversity and inclusion
- – assembling an advisory board of external experts
- – diversifying the pipeline of talent
- – championing those who help others
“At Burberry we always sought to build a culture that is diverse, open and inclusive and one where all perspectives are valued. The distress we caused with one of our products last week has shown us that we are not where we want or need to be,” he said.
The company will also be supporting the Samaritans charity, which provides assistance to those in crisis.