November 23, 2018 Dolce&Gabbana storm: the rage of Milanese Chinatown Dolce&Gabbana storm: the rage of Milanese Chinatown

Dolce&Gabbana storm: the rage of Milanese Chinatown

We went to Via Paolo Sarpi, the Milanese Chinatown, after the Dolce&Gabbana scandal: between silences, half sentences and accusations, the reactions of an indignant community

By acrimonia

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The Dolce&Gabbana storm shows no sign of abating. The video of excuses did nothing but increase the clamor around the clamorous commercial gaffe that involved the Italian fashion house. To feel the pulse of the Chinese community in Milan, we were in Via Paolo Sarpi, the heart of Milanese Chinatown. And we asked traders and bystanders a comment, a thought about what happened.

After the outrage over the first three promotional videos, which should have anticipated the big parade of November 21st in Shanghai “DG The Great Show” and which portrayed an impatient Chinese girl eating a plate of spaghetti, a pizza and a cannolo with chopsticks, the Chinese people were shocked by the words of Stefano Gabbana who defined China “[…] a shitty country”, then increasing the dose with three adjectives “ignorant, dirty and smelly” that have deeply hurt the country. The offense chats were published by the Instagram account @dietprada, famous fashion profile, and show a Stefano Gabbana outside of himself, unaware of the consequences, blinded by anger.


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Un post condiviso da Diet Prada ™ (@diet_prada) in data:

Basically, after having made three videos based on a stereotyped China, the brand owners have definitely worsened the situation with the words harsh but then retract declaring, consequently, to have been victims of hacking. In the video of excuses published in the last hours appear Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana in front of a gold and bordeaux wallpaper that state: “We will try to do better and we will respect Chinese culture in all respects”. The boycott by e-commerce, however, was inevitable. The brand has been ruled out by several Chinese platforms and by all three big Asian companies in the Tmall, and Suning sectors.

What do the Milanese Chinatown think of what happened? What are the opinions of the Chinese community in the Italian capital of fashion?

Just a day from the scandal we have been in several shops that overlook Via Paolo Sarpi and the widespread attitude is that of prudence. Initially, it seems that no one wants to express their opinion, that no one wants to stand up for or against someone, that everyone knows about the incident and that this doesn’t touch them. They are respectful of their homeland, almost fearful even to be aware of what happened. However, a minimum of insistence leads them, finally, to some statements with the request, however, to maintain anonymity.

“Dolce&Gabbana spits on the plate where it eats”, “The videos are offensive and they paint stereotypes in which we don’t recognize ourselves”, “How would you feel to be portrayed as ignorant, incapable and mocked?”. Our answer is: “Pizza, mafia and mandolin”, they reply: “They aren’t joking with friends, we represent a third of their company’s turnover.”

Then, we enter in a jewelry store. The attitude is more polite, the propensity that, like all the others, not to speak. Before leaving, however, the owner states that everyone can make mistakes, that nobody is condemnable for an error and above all that mistakes are forgiven. Stefano would be moved…

We come across the pedestrian street, for a shop that has even printed t-shirts and white shopping bags depicting the face of Stefano Gabbana, the inscription “Not Me” and the chat screens published by @dietprada. We enter, convinced, that we would finally listen to more heated words. The attitude is instead that of complete reticence. “Ours is a marketing move…”, “We don’t stand on anyone’s side, we take advantage of the trend of the moment..”, “Nothing is on sale…”. The paradox between the marketing move and the choice not to sell is clear to everyone, but we prefer not to discuss.


Traveled almost all the way, we go back and stop in the most famous street antiques shop. A girl and a slightly older lady welcome us. The girl is determined: “I don’t care”. The lady intervenes: “What happened with Dolce&Gabbana happened with Dolce&Gabbana, not with all of Italy. I don’t wanna generalize. Indeed the culprit is Stefano, Dolce has nothing to do with it,” she says firmly. Then, wisdom emerges: “It just happened, it must pass some time, like the day that has a duration. China needs time, slowly…”, “Stefano must apologize with his heart, what has been perceived is his fiction”. She adds: “All people are wrong, just correct. Promotional videos have made some, not all, angry. If you don’t like a video, you cannot watch it. The offenses, however, those series have come later, but Gabbana is an artist not a killer, he creates and will be forgiven.” “I’m not angry, he’s not smart, he’s crazy!”

It’s the turn of a clothing store. Two young Chinese girls, apparently shy, almost rushed on us to answer: “Stefano Gabbana is rude, he isn’t sincere. His apologies have been published only on Weibo” “The video with the Chinese model is based on stereotypes, it isn’t offensive, it’s trivial and untrue. It’s structured on sexual metaphors, it isn’t worthy of a luxury brand.”  “We call this racism.”

The last shop is cosmetic. The orders, all women, don’t seem to be interested in the matter. As long as there is not one from the warehouse that closes our research: “Nobody likes stereotypes. We fight them, fight them, fight them… In China, we eat pizza with fork and knife!”



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