Italian fashion house Dolce and Gabbana (D&G) has filed a legal suit against two fashion bloggers who reposted anti-asian comments allegedly made by one of the designers.
D&G is seeking $600m (£434m) in damages after the post led to a boycott of the brand by Asian customers — a move which the company says has led to loss in revenue and deals.
Bloggers Diet Prada posted a screenshot of messages reportedly made by Stefano Gabbana in 2018, which made racist remarks about China.
Retailers in Asia pulled the brand's products from their stores as a result, the move also led to celebrities disaffiliating themselves with D&G.
While the civil lawsuit was lodged in Milan in 2019, it garnered attention after the bloggers, Tony Liu and Lindsay Schulyer, posted about it on Instagram.
Susan Scafidi, director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School, which is co-ordinating Lui and Schulyer's defence, said that the case is an attempt to "silence Tony and Lindsay personally."
The bloggers have raised over $38,000 for their defence since going public with the lawsuit. The pair said in a statement on the FB-owned platform that they will not allow their platform — which has over 2.5 million Instagram followers — to be "silenced by lawsuits."
The designers said that Gabbana's account had been hacked, after which they appeared in a video apologising to the Chinese people.
It comes after the popular fashion house previously caused controversy earlier in 2018 by releasing a series of videos ahead of a Shanghai runway show featuring a Chinese model attempting to eat Italian foods with chopsticks.
But the videos were soon taken down after they were deemed them insensitive, and the Shanghai show was cancelled amid the backlash.
It is seeking €450m ($536, £387m) the brand spent on restoring D&G's image since 2018, €3m for the company and an additional €1m for Gabbana. On top of that, €8.6m for the cancellation of the Shanghai show, €8.6m for staff expenditures and €89.6m for lost Asian sales between November 2018 and March 2019.
The pair founded the iconic fashion house in 1985 in Milan, Italy.
WATCH: How do influencers make money from Instagram?