China’s biggest e-commerce platforms including JD.com, Secco, Tmall and Xiaohongshu have removed Dolce & Gabbana products from their sites after its founder Stefano Gabbana said in a conversation on his Instagram account that China was a “country of shit”.
Gabbana’s comment was labeled as a “racist outburst” by Chinese netizens, came in response to complaints that the fashion house’s DG Loves China video campaign was itself racist for showing a Chinese woman in a red D&G dress trying to use chopsticks to eat pizza, spaghetti and a giant version of the Italian pastry cannoli.
Gabbana's Instagram conversation quickly spread on Chinese microblogging site Weibo where many Chinese celebrities, including actress Zhang Ziyi, actor Chen Kun and singer Karry Wang Junkai, announced they would not attend the D&G fashion show scheduled in Shanghai on Wednesday night.
D&G said on Instagram that the accounts of D&G and Stefano Gabbana had been hacked and its legal team was “urgently investigating”. However, that statement did not convince the Chinese. After the group boycott from celebrities and models, the Italian fashion brand cancelled its fashion show at the last-minute.
Chinese e-commerce platforms, an important retail outlet for D&G products in China, reacted to the incident by removing the brand’s products from online. China is a major market for luxury brands, with Chinese consumers accounting for 33% of global luxury goods purchases, according to Bain & Company, a figure forecast to rise to 46%by 2025.
A search on the Tmall website on Thursday morning for “Dolce & Gabbana” resulted in zero results on Tmall. Tmall is a business-to-consumer online retail site operated by Alibaba Group. Online retail giant JD.com also removed D&G items from its self-owned shops.
Product sharing and shopping platform Xiaohongshu, also known as Red, said it has removed all D&G items as well as user’s posts related to D&G. A representative of the company said: “The interests of our motherland cannot be infringed upon. All collaborations are based on mutual respect. We welcome global brands to come to China, but at the same time those international brands operating in China should respect China.”
Other negative publicity for D&G came when two of its ‘brand ambassadors’ resigned. Singer Karry Wang Junkai and actress Dilireba, who are both the brand’s ambassadors for Asia-Pacific quit. Karry announced his decision on Tuesday and Dilireba announced her decision on Wednesday.