Swedish retail company H&M has copped flak from women's rights activists for its new tagline?"I love GBV", which activists claimed is an acronym for gender-based violence. "I love GBV" is a new tagline to push the new collection with done in partnership with Italian designer Giambattista Valli. H&M stated on its site that "gbv" in the tagline "I love GBV" is an abbreviation to Valli.
A quick search by Marketing found?that "gbv" leads to results related to gender-based violence on the internet. According to a Reuters article, women?s rights activists demanded the brand ?withdraw? products from the collection and that it was ?crazy? to proceed selling these items.?A spokesperson for the women's right advocacy?group said?"gbv" is not an obscure term and is commonly used as a short hand for gender-based violence.
In response to this, a H&M spokesperson said in the article that the company ?condemns any type of violence? and ?believes in an inclusive and equal society?. At the time of writing, the collection is available on its site and majority of the items are marked as sold out. Marketing has reached out to H&M for comment.
However, this was not the only issue H&M faced when launching its new collection with Valli. During the launch day on 7 November, consumers took to Twitter to express their frustration when the retailer's site crashed due to overwhelming response. According to netizens, those who managed to access the site were placed in a queue.
H&M is not the only brand to have sparked anger among consumers for its collection. In February, luxury brand Gucci copped flak from netizens?for the use of ?blackface? imagery on a black polo neck sweater, resulting in the brand apologising and pulling the product from its online and physical stores.
Netizens pointed out the similarity of the neck sweater to a racially offensive?golliwog. Golliwogs are grotesque creatures,?with very dark, often jet black skin, large white-rimmed eyes, red or white clown lips, and wild, frizzy hair.?The golliwog was a story book character created in 1895, that have caused a debate amongst many if it is an icon or a racist symbol.
In the same month,?adidas was also shoved into the spotlight for its line of clothing and sneakers inspired by the Harlem Renaissance movement, which was meant to commemorate Black History Month. The sports brand put out an?exclusive?Ultra Boost?sneakers, named ?Celebrating Black Culture?.
Netizens were unhappy with the ?all-white? sneakers, despite the brand?s intention to commemorate the Black History Month.?According to media outlets, the sports brand removed the sneaker and apologised its intention did not reflect the brand?s beliefs.
Luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) also caused a furore online?for its racist ad and alleged comments about the Chinese, leading to founders?Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana put out an apology. This resulted in?eCommerce sites such as Tmall, JD.com, Vipshop and Yanxuan pulling D&G products off its sites. Hong Kong retail company Lane Crawford also dropped the luxury brand. Meanwhile, other global e-commerce platforms such as?Yoox Net-a-Porter and Secoo delisted all D&G products?on its Chinese websites.