Dolce & Gabbana’s Recent ‘Racism’ controversy: Where did the Italian brand go wrong?

On Wednesday morning, the fashion community was flooded with the news of Dolce and Gabbana’s most recent #scandal. The Italian luxury brand had to call off a runway show scheduled to take place this week in Shanghai after a commercial was posted on the D&G Instagram that sparked some controversy. To add fuel to the fire, Stefano Gabbana made racist posts in an attempt to defend the posted video. 

The video posted on the D&G Instagram account featured a Chinese woman clumsily using chopsticks to eat pizza and other Italian delicacies. People instantly started calling out the brand, branding the video as racist and stereotypical. 


Stefano Gabbana, who has been known to cause quite a few Instagram feuds in the past, responded to private messages about the video by calling the country of China an ‘Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia.’

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This was the cherry on top that completely outraged fans and caused the Chinese government to force the brand to call off the runway show. 

In honour of, yet again, another scandal for D&G, we decided it was time to strut our stilettos down memory lane and look back at where it all started to go downhill. We pieced together a timeline of *just some* of the controversies this brand has stirred up over the last few years. 

JUNE 2013

Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana accused of tax evasion 

Fans started to become suspicious of Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana when they were sentenced to 20 months in prison for hiding more than 200 million euros from Italian tax authorities. A judge ruled that they sold their brand to the holding company Gado in 2004 to avoid declaring taxes on royalties of about 1 billion euros. 

After months of pleading guilty, they were lucky to not face any jail time, but were fined over 400 million euros.

MARCH 2015

Domenico Dolce stated that he was against IVF and gay adoption 

Almost two years after the tax evasion situation, Domenico Dolce landed in hot water once again when he made a statement for Panorama magazine against in vitro fertilisation and gay adoption. He referred to IVF, saying that he was ‘not convinced by chemical children, synthetic babies, wombs for rent.’ 

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Many actors, singers, and influencers with children from IVF, including Elton John, caught wind of the controversial comments and stated on social media that they were boycotting the Italian brand. 

After an enormous amount of backlash from LGBTQA+ community, Dolce went on to apologise to Vogue’s Sarah Mower during a conversation in Milan, saying he had ‘done some soul-searching.’

He continued: “I’ve talked to Stefano a lot about this. I’ve realised that my words were inappropriate, and I apologise. They are just kids.”

Fans seemed to appreciate Dolce’s apology— but it didn’t change the fact that he said it in the first place.

MARCH 2016

The brand tried to sell a two thousand euro ‘Slave Sandal’

In Dolce and Gabbana’s spring 2016 tourist-inspired collection, the brand sold sandals for €2,000 (£1,771, $2,282) online, labelled as the ‘slave sandal.’


Once again, and quite obviously due to the poorly named product, controversy started to brew. The brand had to regroup and release a formal apology statement. Shortly after the outrage, the shoes were renamed ‘Bianco flat sandals.’

APRIL 2017 

‘I’m thin and gorgeous’ message written on sneakers 

As if one shoe scandal wasn’t enough, the brand found itself in the middle of a storm again when Stefano posted a photo of a new pair of sneakers on his Instagram. Fans adored the cute messages on the pair of sneakers, such as ‘love you more’ and ‘so fab’, but many were furious when they saw that ‘I’m thin and gorgeous’ was written as well. 

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Many people responded with comments explaining that they felt like D&G was trying to push the message that you must be thin and gorgeous to be accepted by the brand. 

Stefano responded to the online users via the post, commenting: “Next time we’ll write LOVE TO BE FAT AND FULL OF CHOLESTEROL.” 

Stefano, it looks like people would rather be full of cholesterol than caught dead in those shoes anyway.

June 2018 

Stefano Gabanna made rude remarks towards Selena Gomez

The 56-year-old man made another questionable choice when he decided it was appropriate to comment on a collage of photos of Selena Gomez in red dresses, stating ‘She’s so ugly!!!.’


Selena’s 100 million-plus followers vehemently disagreed and let Stefano know by spamming him with angry messages for days afterwards.

September 2018

Stefano Gabanna called Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni cheap 

Don’t be too shocked: Stefano didn’t learn from his mistake the last time he decided to leave a rude comment on a celebrity’s profile. He went straight back to his old ways again, this time targeting Chiara Ferragni, a well-known Italian influencer. 

Harper’s Bazaar UK posted an Instagram photo of Chiara wearing one of her three custom-made Dior bridal dresses from her wedding with singer Fedez Leonardo Lucia. Stefano decided it was a great idea to try to ruin one of the most special days of Chiara’s life by commenting ‘cheap’ on the photo. 

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Chiara didn’t let this phase her, and continued to go along with her perfect wedding ceremony and reception without responding to his comment. 

Fans speculated that Stefano was jealous Chiara had chosen Dior to design her dress instead of D&G, and in fairness— they’re probably not wrong.

After looking down memory lane, it shouldn’t come as a shock to fans that the brand would be caught in yet another controversy. This seems to be an ongoing pattern for D&G: being stuck in the middle of a scandal of their own making about race, gender, and body shaming.

Has this latest controversy been the last of many, or will old habits die hard?

You know what they say— you can’t teach an old designer new patterns! 😉



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