Philipp Plein has responded to the backlash following his FW20 collection show at Milan Fashion Week, which contained a controversial tribute to Kobe Bryant. The German designer came under fire on social media for purportedly using Bryant's death to sell his new collection.
During the show, models walked the runway wearing Swarovski-embellished Lakers-style jerseys and hoodies; a giant "Plein" replaced the NBA team's logo, and Bryant's number, 24, adorned the pieces. A Plein-branded helicopter was also part of the show — a particularly concerning inclusion, considering how the NBA legend died.
In response to the backlash, Plein has issued a statement, which reads, "the catwalk set-up was already planned and designed in November 2019, way before this tragic accident occurred, this is the reason there were helicopters on the runway. I would have clearly removed them if possible, but it was too late to replace them."
Plein also clarifies that profits from the collection's Bryant-inspired pieces were to be donated to the MAMBA & MAMBACITA Sport Foundation. However, the statement reads that "the first 20.000 USD have been trasferred to the foundation already last Friday, the day before the show," meaning that the exact amount donated from profits after the pieces went on sale still remains unclear.
Plein concludes his statement by speaking directly to his detractors commenting that "it is sad to see how something so positive and constructive can be misinterpreted by people who obviously want to interpret negatively without even having a reason. As a matter of fact, I am "really" doing something to help and support the foundation. Actions speak louder than words."
You can read the statement in full on WWD, and refer back to some of the reactions to Philipp Plein's show below.