The Dolce & Gabbana store in Hong Kong that caused controversy when it stopped residents of the city from taking pictures of its windows has brushed off allegations of racist policies as hogwash. Still, that hasn’t stopped thousands of angry people from protesting outside the store.
Women’s Wear Daily reports that the whole incident started when a Hong Kong resident passing by the store tried to take a picture and was asked to stop by a D&G employee. The going theory is that there was a government official from Mainland China in the store who didn’t want to be seen dropping major yuan on luxury goods, for fear that people might think he was spending the government’s money. This practice, infringing on the rights of Hong Kong residents to protect wealthier, more powerful people from the Mainland has people who live in Hong Kong upset. And while it’s a small incidence of mistreatment, it’s become the focus of anger for Hong Kong people who feel their town is being invaded by Mainlanders and foreigners at their expense.
Dolce & Gabbana has responded in kind, swearing that it never wished to treat any of its customers or potential customers disrespectfully. In an almost angry statement, the Italian company says it never wanted to offend anyone and hasn’t really done anything to that effect.
Referring to media reports regarding the incident, Dolce & Gabbana said that “controversial statements reported in the Hong Kong press have not been made by Dolce & Gabbana nor its staff, and we strongly reject any racist or derogatory comments. It is regrettable that Dolce & Gabbana has been brought into this matter, but we wish to underline that our company has not taken part in any action aimed at offending the Hong Kong public.”
And while it is regrettable that a fashion brand is caught up in the middle of this, we do sort of get the protesting. If people in Hong Kong feel like they’re being displaced by richer people from other places, it’s not surprising that they’d speak up. One analyst told WWD the mere presence of a Dolce draws a line in the wealth gap between Hong Kong and tourists from other places. “People think ‘why is it that these stores come in. I can’t shop there. Why can’t I take a photo?'”
Is Occupy Dolce & Gabbana coming next?