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Dolce & Gabbana Cancelled by China Due to Racist Controversy

Dolce & Gabbana Cancelled by China Due to Racist Controversy

After a culturally insensitive promotional video and leaked messages from Dolce & Gabbana’s co-founder Stefano Gabbana, D&G now find themselves in a controversial news storm. 


The D&G Shanghai runway show set to run on November 21 and feature 500 looks was cancelled last minute by the Shanghai government; celebrity brand ambassadors are calling quits on their affiliation with the brand; China’s biggest e-commerce platforms Tmall,, Xiaohongshu and Secco have removed D&G products from their sites. If you’re having trouble keeping up, let us break it down for you.


China is a major market for luxury brands, with Chinese consumers accounting for 33 per cent of global luxury goods purchases, according to Bain & Company; a figure forecast to rise to 46 per cent by 2025. Being endorsed by the Chinese fashionista elite is an essential part of any major fashion brand’s business plan.

Earlier this month Dolce & Gabbana released a series of videos promoting their fashion show titled The Great Show in Shanghai November 21st. The videos show an Asian woman attempting to eat various Italian dishes using chopsticks. The clips are set in a stereotypical-looking Chinese market stall, backed by cliché ambient music and a narrating voice mocking the model as she doesn’t understand how to eat pizza, spaghetti or cannelloni. As if that weren’t enough, the narrator says things like “is it too big?” and “you can penetrate one of your chopsticks into the cannelloni” adding misogynistic undertones to the culturally insensitive video.


The problematic video was brought to light by the Instagram account @diet_prada, placing D&G in hot water. Shortly thereafter screenshots of an Instagram DM conversation between the brand’s co-founder Stefano Gabbana and model Michaela Phuong Thanh Tranova were released, where Gabbana accused Tranova of racism for “eating dogs,” “the country of [series of poop emojis] is China” and “China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Maffia.” His racist DMs are not super cohesive and sensical, but it’s enough to make the hashtag #BoycottDolce trend on the Chinese social media site Weibo.

Dolce & Gabbana has made public statements since, stating that the Instagram of Stefano Gabbana was hacked. But seeing as Gabbana has been known to write rude, spur-of-the-moment comments in the past, it seems the Chinese people will not be letting this lack of respect for their culture slide.


So the future of the fashion brand awaits. Can D&G mend their relationship with China or has that bridge been burned? And in case of the latter, how will D&G maintain their position as one of the most influential fashion houses in the West, without the financial and cultural influence in the East?

by Michelle Hallstrom
cover photo: Catwalking
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