An image slip-up is a nightmare for many companies. It turns out, however, that even the biggest brands find it difficult to protect themselves from such a problem. How did Zara, Valentino or Dolce&Gabbana cope with such a problem?
We started to talk more about image crises after the famous “label scandal” of our Polish brand Veclaim, owned by famous blogger Jessica Mercedes. Customers buying expensive T-shirts were convinced that they were getting products of the highest quality which were obviously produced in Poland. However, it turned out that these were T-shirts from China. The lie was discovered by the stylist Karolina Domaradzka, showing on her Instagram that under the label Veclaim there is a Chinese stamp. The Internet was in an uproar and customers could not hide their indignation. What consequences will the brand suffer? It is still unclear, but experts suspect that Mercedes may be forgiven for the slip-up, although the distaste will certainly remain and customers will be watching her carefully
Such brands as Zara, Valentino and Dolce&Gabbana have also made image blunders. How did they cope with them and did they suffer big losses?
What did Zara do?
Who among us does not know Zara? It is one of the most popular chain stores, loved mostly by women. This brand in 2016 faced quite a problem, because it was accused of plagiarism. The Spanish brand was supposed to be too inspired by the designs belonging to the designer Tuesday Bassen from Los Angeles. The artist even compared her own ornaments with those of Zara. The chain store changed some of the designs, but many people noticed similarities. The company, however, did not behave too kindly and responded to the designer’s accusations by saying that she has no chance of winning in a dispute with such a corporation, and besides, such designs are popular and common
Recently Kasia Tusk posted an accusation against Zara in social media. It turned out that the brand used a photo of her without her permission – only changing the pillows to ones of their own production
Dolce&Gabbana also scored a slip-up
Dolce&Gabbana is an Italian fashion house created by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. The brand was founded in Italy in 1985 and over the years has developed an extremely strong position in the fashion world. Clothes signed with their logo are worn by Madonna, Victoria Beckham and Johnny Depp. In addition to clothing, the company also offers perfumes and cosmetics
Despite its power, also this brand scored a so-called “scuffle”, and in its history it even had a few of them. In 2018, it was accused of racism. And all because of the #DGLovesChina campaign, which wanted to show respect for Asian culture, but showed something quite different. The ad features an Asian model wearing an Italian dress and trying to eat Italian food with chopsticks, while being instructed by a narrator. It was supposed to be funny, but it turned out awkward. The Chinese received the spot very negatively and accused the brand of racism. The affair was so serious that even the Shanghai show, which was to be the highlight of the whole campaign, was cancelled
What did the company do? Not much, as they didn’t even issue an official apology on the matter. Besides, Stefano was also said to have sent messages to people who criticized the campaign, but the designers denied this, saying that their social media accounts were taken over by hackers
Valentino also had an image problem
Valentino is also a fashion house from Italy. It was founded in 1960 and the creator of this brand is Valentino Garavani. Customers of the brand were such as Elizabeth Taylor and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The brand in 2016 created a collection that was, or rather was meant to be, a tribute to African refugees. The designs were created by Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri. The goal was to show tolerance to African tradition and culture, but the intentions were perceived quite differently. It was considered that the collection was a “cultural appropriation” and not an inspiration. However, one has to admit that the designs were really polished and impressive. However, the lack of proper context for the whole collection, presenting clothes on white-skinned models, where native Kenyans were only a background, was very badly received. The designers didn’t quite understand why their work was perceived this way and tried to explain themselves. Was it successful? Probably yes, because over the years this mistake has now been forgotten.