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Gucci Gets Called Out for Making Light of Mass Incarceration

A recent Gucci ad dubbed 'criminal couture' is being called "insensitive" by criminal justice reform advocate, Glenn E. Martin.  
Gucci Gets Called Out for Making Light of Mass Incarceration
Matt Cardy

Gucci is having an interesting week.

Following the debut of their Cruise 2018 collection, the brand is facing fierce criticism for showing a mink, puffy sleeved, logo printed coat with an uncanny resemblance to a creation circa 1988 by legendary Harlem Fashion mastermind, Dapper Dan.

Since the initial backlash for what many are calling a blatant copy, Gucci representatives have admitted to getting inspiration for the look from Dapper Dan, with no explanation as to why he was not brought on to collaborate or mentioned in the programming.

Just when it seemed that there’d been enough Gucci drama for one week, we learned that this wasn’t quite the case.

The brand is now being called out by Justice Leaders USA and CLOSE Rikers founder, Glenn E. Martin.

The criminal justice reform advocate who was incarcerated himself for 6 years, believes that Gucci’s newest ad trivializes mass incarceration.


The ad in question is featured on a wall in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. It has the words “Criminal Couture” emblazoned on a striped black and white background reminiscent of classic jail uniforms, with two bow collared shirts, one labeled ‘White Collar’ and the other “Blue Collar’.

The ad is a part of quirky fashion illustrator Angelica Hicks’ #GucciGeeks t-shirt collaboration with the brand and hasn’t seemed to cause much controversy until now.

However, after Martin brought attention to the insensitivity of the ad, many are agreeing and taking Gucci to task for what they deem to be “vile and tasteless.”

Between both incidents this week, many have pointed out that for a brand that recently featured a full cast of Black models for their pre-Fall 2017 campaign, they seem to be pretty out of touch.


Although we’re not quite clear on the intention of the ad in question, it’s evident that Gucci has a lot of explaining to do.