Domenico Dolce needs to act fast to prevent further damage to Dolce & Gabanna brand

It is unlikely that fashion designer Domenico Dolce could ever have predicted the fallout from comments he made to Italian magazine Panorama, about same-sex families and babies conceived through IVF being "synthetic".

Sir Elton John: Calling for a boycott of the D&G brand over Domenico Dolce's IVF comments
Sir Elton John: Calling for a boycott of the D&G brand over Domenico Dolce's IVF comments
Some argue that he was simply airing his own – however archaic and misguided – views. 

However, Dolce has been in the business long enough to know that you can never switch off from a ‘brand’ – particularly one that bears your name.

The controversial statements have led to worldwide condemnation and a public boycott of the Dolce & Gabanna brand – a decision that has been fuelled by celebrity support and a social media frenzy. 

The backlash was largely instigated by Sir Elton John, who sent Instagram and Twitter into a furore by by posting to his 92,000 Instagram followers: "How dare you refer to my beautiful children as synthetic", and calling for a boycott of the brand using the hashtag #BoycottDolceGabbana, which quickly trended. 

Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to garnering support for a cause, particularly when, like Sir Elton, you wield such huge influence in the online sphere. 

Since Sunday, the campaign has gathered an unprecedented amount of engagement and support, with fellow celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and John Barrowman pledging their allegiance to Sir Elton; this public backing from such high profile personalities, each with a legion of fans, threatens to damage D&G’s popularity even further.

The designers have so far been unapologetic and have responded by calling Sir Elton a "fascist" and "ignorant" – likening his backlash to the Charlie Hebdo attack. 

In my opinion this was an unwise response as it serves only to further turn the tide of public opinion against the brand; in order to protect himself, his business partner and the Dolce & Gabanna brand from further criticism, it is imperative that Dolce plans his next steps intelligently. 

Thus far it seems he has failed to take into account the responsibility he has to Dolce & Gabanna.

As the head of such a powerful business, his personal views are constantly entwined with the ethos of the brand, and controversial statements such as the ones he made will not be taken in isolation. 

His views threaten to alienate a legion of  Dolce & Gabanna customers, deter celebrities from wearing its designs at high profile events, and turn the media and public opinion against the brand.

It is of course possible for brands and personalities to come back from a crisis; the key is to communicate the right messages to the right people.

In 2013, after his fall from grace, John Galliano granted Vanity Fair an exclusive interview that saw Dior’s ex-head designer apologise for his anti-semitic comments and speak candidly about his drug addiction. 

Phil Hall is the founder and chairman of PHA Media

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.