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Burberry pulls sweatshirt with noose around neckline, apologizes

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Burberry - Runway - LFW February 2019
A model walks the runway at the Burberry show during London Fashion Week on Feb. 17, 2019 in London. -
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A sweatshirt presented in Burberry's London Fashion Week show on Sunday that featured an apparent noose around the neckline has been removed from their newest line, according to the company's CEO.

"We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our [Autumn/Winter] 2019 runway collection Tempest," Marco Gobbetti, Burberry's CEO, said in a statement.

Gobbetti added that the hoodie has been pulled from the collection, and all images featuring it have been removed from Burberry's site.

A model walks the runway at the Burberry show during London Fashion Week on Feb. 17, 2019 in London.
A model walks the runway at the Burberry show during London Fashion Week on Feb. 17, 2019 in London.Estrop

"Though the design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake," Gobbetti said.

Burberry's chief creative officer, Riccardo Tisci, who designed the show, also apologized in a statement.

"I am so deeply sorry for the distress that has been caused as a result of one of the pieces in my show on Sunday," Tisci said. "While the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realise that it was insensitive. It was never my intention to upset anyone. ... I will make sure that this does not happen again."

The description of Burberry's Tempest line posted on their website says pieces drew "inspiration from the contrasts in British culture and weather." But the description doesn't mention the sea or a nautical theme.

Liz Kennedy, who was in the Tempest show, posted pictures of the sweatshirt on Instagram Sunday, saying she raised concerns about the sweatshirt after leaving "my fitting extremely triggered after seeing this look."

"Suicide is not fashion. It is not glamorous nor edgy," Kennedy wrote. "Let's not forget about the horrifying history of lynching either. There are hundreds of ways to tie a rope and they chose to tie it like a noose completely ignoring the fact that it was hanging around a neck."

Kennedy said she has gone "through an experience with suicide" in her family, but when she tried to address the issue before the show, she was told to write a letter, and that, "'It's fashion. Nobody cares about what's going on in your personal life so just keep it to yourself.'"

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She also said in her post that she was further disturbed when show staff "briefly hung one from the ceiling (trying to figure out the knot) and were laughing about it in the dressing room."

Gobbetti said he personally called Kennedy to apologize.

Kennedy said that she chose to speak out because the show was "dedicated to the youth expressing their voice."

With her post, she included a screenshot of a post that appeared to have been written by Tisci accompanying a picture of the offending hoodie. "I dedicate this show to the youth of today, to them having the courage to scream for what they believe in, for them to have the beauty in expressing their voice," he wrote. Tisci's post has since been deleted.

Models in Sunday's show walked a standard runway, in a sleek space, and also a runway that weaved through an industrial-looking space bordered with teens climbing scaffolding.

"Rebellious youths scaled fence walls in one space, sending a message of liberation and freedom, while order and structure prevailed in the other," said a description of the show on Burberry's website.