Designer Philipp Plein is facing backlash after his FW20 collection show at Milan Fashion Week contained a tribute to Kobe Bryant. The German designer is being accused of using Bryant’s death to sell his new collection.
During the show, models walked the runway wearing Swaroski-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 controversial inclusion, considering how the NBA legend died.
Speaking to Vogue backstage, the designer explained that the helicopters were commissioned long before Bryant’s passing. “If I would have known what happened, after the accident, I would not have put helicopters there. It was terrible what happened, but I couldn’t cancel the helicopters anymore.”
The Lakers-inspired hoodies and jerseys are already available on the brand’s online shop for $2,070 and $3,150, respectively. Plein’s site mentions that the pieces are “in support” of Kobe Bryant’s Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, but fails to specify how much of the profits will be donated.
Check out some of the reactions to Philipp Plein’s show below.