Top e-commerce sites in China have removed Dolce and Gabbana products from their platforms after a controversial ad campaign caused outrage.
Alibaba’s Tmall, JD.com, Suning.com, NetBase and Vip.com have all removed the Italian fashion house’s products.
Dolce and Gabbana released video ads earlier this month featuring a Chinese model struggling to eat pizza and pasta with chopsticks. The campaign was accused of cultural insensitivity and racism and drew calls for boycotts from local celebrities.
The situation worsened after an Instagram user posted a screenshot of offensive comments sent from the Instagram account of Stefano Gabbana, one of the company’s co-founders. The company blamed hackers for the Instagram comments.
The scandal could have a significant impact on the fashion house’s performance in the Chinese market, one of the most biggest and fastest growing in the world. Chinese consumers account for over a third of global spending on luxury products.
Bain & Company released a 2018 report which projected that the luxury goods market in mainland China will grow by 22% this year.
Ben Cavender, a senior analyst at China Market Research in Shanghai, was quoted by CNN as saying that: “The damage to the brand in the eyes of Chinese consumers has already been done,”
Forced to cancel Shanghai fashion show
The hashtag #BoycottDolceGabbana was trending earlier this week, forcing the fashion house to cancel a major fashion show in Shanghai.
Dolce and Gabbana said in an initial statement their “dream was to bring to Shanghai a tribute event dedicated to China.”
“It was not simply a fashion show, but something that we created especially with love and passion for China and all the people around the world who love Dolce & Gabbana,” they said. “What happened today was very unfortunate not only for us, but also for all the people who worked day and night to bring this event to life. From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to express our gratitude to our friends and guests.”