Dear Burberry, suicide is not a fashion statement


Burberry “marine” theme Photo credit: Janette Estrada

Fashion label Burberry sent out an apology following their autumn and winter runway collection at London Fashion Week.

The showcased item is a cotton hoodie with a noose around the neck, apparently inspired by the show’s marine theme. Model Liz Kennedy, featured in the show, criticized the hoodie in an Instagram post.

“Suicide is not fashion,” Kennedy said. “It is not glamorous nor edgy and since this show is dedicated to the youth expressing their voice here I go.”

This apparent use of a noose began a sickening commotion on social media calling out Burberry for their insensitive approach to “fashion.”

Ladies and gents, do not get too alarmed. Burberry did send out an apology, but like any other apology, their action does not represent the fashion label nor do they intend to hurt anyone. Bullsh*t.

What goes down the runway is only a glimpse of what we see on the streets. Sadly, the term “suicide” is not new to the world of fashion, as it is already existent in parts of the world like Tokyo, where Dark Harajuku originates.

Dark Harajuku is known to be an outward expression of inner sadness. The wearer’s intent is to knowingly display tools used for suicide as an element of their outfit. This is meant to add darkness to the cute Harajuku aesthetic. Through pastel colors and darkness, a duality is created that opens room for misfits. Yet there is a hidden message to this suicidal approach.

Japan has a very high suicide rate among the country’s youth. Talking about suicide and mental health is taboo in many parts of Japan. In other words, forbidden. Some individuals in response choose to dress in Dark Harajuku fashion as a coping mechanism to deal with complex emotions that once almost lead them to commit suicide.

This kind of exaggerated fashion is intended to stand out and draw individuals closer to create a space for those who desire to heal or need someone to relate to.

The message is clear: suicide is not a joke. While there are individuals who struggle to find reasons for their survival, there are shameless fashion lines like Burberry who use suicide to make profit.

Burberry, dedicating your runway show as a motive to encourage the youth to scream for what they believe, fell short. It was a miss, as it fails to represent what our generation truly stands for.

Suicide is ranked as the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and continues to be on the rise, especially amongst the young generation. The same generation who you, Burberry, encourage to use their voice. The ones who already deal with pressures from society tone a certain way. You are sending out the wrong message.

Save your apology. We deserve an explanation behind the type of design that was put forth. Everything should have a purpose. Not pointless stitches that create profit. Learn from Dark Harajuku, dark but meaningful.

Please, if you have thoughts of harming yourself or you are looking for help with a personal problem that is interfering with your life and well being, Chico State counseling and wellness center offers professional help.

Life is worth living.

Janette Estrada can be reached at [email protected] or @Jane_11e on Twitter.