The racism scandal that has recently engulfed Dolce & Gabbana has not only taken a toll on business for the luxury Italian brand in China but also in Manhattan during the infamous Black Friday event, as local Chinese Americans and visitors from China can be visible seen boycotting the brand.
Only a few Chinese or Chinese American customers can be seen entering into D&G stores or browsing the Italian fashion designer’s special counters in Manhattan in New York City in recent days, the Chinese language newspaper The China Press and the Chinese language TV news channel Sinovision both reported on Saturday.
“After nearly three hours of waiting at the entrance of the Fifth Avenue D&G store on Black Friday, I barely saw any Chinese faces going in,” a Sinovision reporter said in a news program run by the channel.
Black Friday, which falls on the day after Thanksgiving, marks the start of the biggest sales and shopping season in the United States.
A female Chinese American, identified as a Miss Wang, told The China Press that she used to like the D&G brand a lot, but the latest controversy changed her perception and has made her “quit visiting the D&G stores this holiday season.”
“Although D&G and its designers have apologized for what happened, it seems to me that they did so just to save their markets and were not sincere enough,” Wang added.
According to the newspaper, sales staff at the D&G stores and counters in Manhattan have been reluctant to comment on the recent controversy or its impact on their business, but some have insisted that they are still expecting an increase in customer flow and sales revenues for this holiday season.
Two Chinese students from the State University of New York at Stony Brook still made some purchases at the D&G Fifth Avenue store on Friday. The two, identified only by their surnames – Ding and Zhao, told The China Press that they also believed the Italian designer’s apologies “came too late and lacked sincerity.”
D&G provoked a public outcry after some short videos it released to promote a fashion event in Shanghai were accused of being culturally insensitivity and racist. To make things worse, the company’s co-founder Stefano Gabbana was later found verbally insulting China in his online quarrels with some netizens.
The D&G Shanghai show had to be canceled after many Chinese celebrities decided to boycott it, and Chinese e-commerce giants like Alibaba and JD.com also removed D&G products from their platforms amid the escalating row.
On Thursday, the company founders posted online a subtitled video that stated: “We offer our sincerest apologies to Chinese people worldwide.”