Dear Burberry, Riccardo Tisci and team,
Suicide is not a statement. Murder is not edgy. Torture is not a trend.
It is not glamorous nor edgy. I can’t fathom how a hoodie with a rope tied like a noose hanging around the neck was an acceptable piece to put in a show dedicated to the youth. How a massive brand like Burberry overlooked this is unbelievable when it clearly resembles a noose used for hanging. There was also a brief moment where the knot was hung from the ceiling and joked about in the dressing room. It’s clear to me they knew what it resembled.
With the horrifying history of lynching and today’s rising suicide rates worldwide it is disgusting that this was included at all, but especially in the line specifically for young women and men. What is this message? Showing the impressionable youth that it’s okay to wear symbols of suicide and murder? Desensitizing people from the seriousness of the matter. What would that lead to? More and more young people thinking it’s not a big deal to do these things?
The look was totally unnecessary, random, disrespectful and insensitive. It does not promote any positive image against these issues. I can only imagine it makes this weapon more desirable.
For anyone who has personally dealt with depression, suicide or knows someone who has, this could and most likely will be an instant trigger for them. Taking their mental frame exactly back into unpleasant memories and feelings. For me, it did exactly this. I left my fitting after seeing this look feeling as though I was right back where I was when I was going through a traumatizing experience with suicide in my family. What was originally a very exciting opportunity to walk exclusively for the brand again turned into a very negative and upsetting experience that made me no longer want to walk the show at all.
I am very disappointed in you, Burberry. I had always loved working for you and had great respect for the brand. I asked to talk to someone about this matter behind the scenes but I was told to write a letter after the show which would leave me no way of knowing if my message actually got through. When I finally had a conversation with someone working with Burberry who was supposed to help me resolve this I was told, “This is fashion. Nobody cares about what is going on in your personal life so just keep it to yourself.” They treated this as if it was just typical fashion week drama or my own problem, not a world wide issue for all kinds of people.
There is actually a campaign around the UK right now called Project84, and it’s focused on male suicide. Every week 84 men commit suicide in the U.K. That is two every hour. With suicide being such a huge issue, there is no reason this should’ve been overlooked by one of the largest brands in the UK.
Even though Burberry has apologized after seeing my post and insists it was not intentional, the entire situation could’ve been avoided. I mentioned the issue to people on the team who were more suited to speak to the styling or designer than myself, but they decided to keep quiet about it.
To everyone in the industry: it is important to be mindful with the symbols and images we are putting out there. I think this can be used as a lesson for all of us.
the youth that have the courage to scream out for what they believe in and found the beauty in expressing their voice.
To anyone dealing with depression,
You are not alone. We are here for you. It is not your fault. It is okay to talk about it. Do not be scared. There are people who will embrace you with open arms and ears. You CAN heal. It doesn’t have to last forever. Remember you are here for a reason larger than all of this. You are love and you are loved.
To anyone who knows someone dealing with depression,
Tread lightly, listen carefully, love fully. Be there and support them as much as you can. Help show them the beauty in themselves and the world around them.
To anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide,
It is not your fault. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Working through it is the only way out of it. It may not seem like there’s any light at the end of the tunnel, but I promise it’s there. Try not to become lost in the darkness, you can walk through.
Together we heal. Hand in hand we get through these things. Nobody can walk this life alone.
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255
Written by Liz Kennedy
Dedicated to my brother, my angel.
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