In hopes of putting an end to the thousands-strong protest on its doorstep, Dolce & Gabbana has formally apologized to the city of Hong Kong after one of the company’s stores there was perceived to have taken a racist stance against local citizens.
The trouble started earlier this month when a shopper outside the Hong Kong store tried to take a picture of the window display and was asked to stop by a D&G employee. The going theory is that there was a Chinese politician in the store who was in Hong Kong on official business, and he or she didn’t want to be accused of spending government money if the photo ended up online. Hong Kong citizens took this as a sign that Dolce thought it was OK to infringe on their rights in favor of the rights of wealthy outsiders, and soon enough people were accusing the brand of racism.
Initially, the brand issued an angry reply, denying that it ever acted inappropriately or discriminated against the people of Hong Kong in any way. But when thousands of Hong Kong people gathered outside the store and refused to leave until the brand issued an apology, Dolce really had no choice. According to Women’s Wear Daily, the statement read like this:
“We understand that the events which unfolded in front of the Dolce & Gabbana Boutique on Canton Road have offended the citizens of Hong Kong, and for this we are truly sorry and we apologize,” the Italian fashion house said. “The Dolce & Gabbana policy is to welcome the Hong Kong people and that of the whole world respecting the rights of each individual and of the local laws.”
Of course the protest wasn’t a simple response to the snub at Dolce. We get the impression that people in Hong Kong are fed up with feeling like they should come second to people who don’t even live there. Which means luxury brands who want a presence in the city should probably do everything they can to make its citizens feel welcome.