Judgemental, disgusting, ignorant and stupid; these are just some of the words that have been used to describe fashion designers, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, over the past few days.
Why? In a recent interview with Italian magazine Panorama, the designers dismissed gay adoption and dubbed IVF children as ‘synthetic’, saying:
“You are born to a mother and a father – or at least that’s how it should be.”
“Wombs for rent, sperm chosen from a catalogue…psychiatrists are not ready to confront the effects of this experimentation.”
“I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalog.”
Disgusted with the designers’ comments, Sir Elton John responded by launching a campaign to #BoycottDolceGabbana.
The singer/songwriter, who had two children with long-time partner David Furnish via a surrogate, sparked a media frenzy after he addressed the designers’ comments on Instagram, saying:
“How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’.
“And shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children.
“Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana.”
How dare you refer to my beautiful children as “synthetic”. And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana
But Elton isn’t the only celebrity who has expressed outrage over the designer duo’s comments. Other notable figures are jumping on the boycott bandwagon by posting their shock via social media. Among them, Victoria Beckham, who was once an ambassador for Dolce & Gabbana, acknowledged Elton’s protest on Twitter:
Sending love to Elton David Zachary Elijah & all the beautiful IVF babies x vb — Victoria Beckham (@victoriabeckham) March 16, 2015
Singer Ricky Martin, whose twin sons were also carried by a surrogate mother, tweeted:
— Ricky Martin (@ricky_martin) March 15, 2015
Actor John Barrowman MBE is another celebrity who shared his distress via Twitter:
— John Barrowman MBE (@Team_Barrowman) March 15, 2015
As you would expect, the campaign has already gone viral and is dominating media headlines worldwide. So the question is: will this boycott tarnish Dolce & Gabbana’s reputation? Will fashion magazines continue to feature D&G clothes? And will famous actors and actresses still wear the label at established award ceremonies? Or will the designers continue to dominate the fashion sphere, despite their controversial comments?
The answer will be determined by the designers’ response, and how they manage their reputation moving forward.
Thanks to the internet; it takes a lot of hard work to build a positive brand, but only hours to destroy it. For Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana, their name is their brand. For this reason, expert reputation management is crucial for the couple if they wish to continue to rein in the realm of fashion.
PHA are the UK’s leading 24/7 Crisis PR and Reputation Management Agency. Our unrivalled media contacts and experience mean we know how to contain a crisis and turn a negative situation into a positive opportunity.