Fashion can be a pretty divisive world, just like any other form of art and popular culture. But has one clothing brand gone too far with their latest design?
Startup clothing brand, KA Design, have caused a stir in the realms of fashion – and beyond – with the release of their latest apparel collection.
Their latest design has sparked controversy for the use of the swastika, a symbol that – no matter what its true origin – will forever be associated with the regime of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
Any form of commercialisation of the symbol is seen as distasteful – even Prince Harry couldn’t get away with it. In fact, the use of a swastika is prohibited in some countries, including Germany.
However this did not deter KA Designs from using the motif for their new products and – predictably – there’s been a severe backlash for taking such a risk.
We got in contact with a spokesperson from KA Designs to get to the bottom of why they thought the use of such a controversial symbol was appropriate.
They explained that the idea to use the symbol came about because:
We really enjoy this symbol. Not because of any of the meanings associated with it, but because of the shape and of how it looks.
However, the strong bond between the Swastika and Nazi values was unbreakable. We didn’t feel free. For the right reason.
So we ended up using this symbol with the aim of sharing its opposite values: love, peace and freedom. Our project wants to express the victory of love and humanity against hatred and Nazism in general.
Those who saw the campaign didn’t have our same mindset.
In response to the backlash KA said they’d hoped for some kind of discussion, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.
Our project brought out the worst in people. Hatred, hatred and even more hatred. Our aim was and currently is of complete positivity.
We are not Neo Nazis. We are free thinkers. With that said, we understand and accept every opinion. We forgive and we ask forgiveness.
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However one look at their collection and it does appear to be a walking paradox. It uses swastikas set against the backdrop of a vibrant rainbow colour scheme – Something often associated with the LGBTQ+ community.
So in that sense, does it seem a redundant effort to mix two polarising beliefs together?
KA Designs explain to us that:
We think it is a powerful association that brings out strong feelings.
We wanted to represent the conquest of violence and hatred done by peace and freedom. That’s it.
However, even by their own admission they say they could’ve handled the message better:
Maybe we expressed ourselves in the wrong way, maybe nobody is ready to accept this kind of meaning.
Maybe people are too afraid that our project could in some way change the memory of the atrocities committed by Nazism.
But it is important to say that we are fighting on the same side and for the same ideals, even if those ideals of Love and Peace were not really shown to us in the response to our campaign.
Despite the controversy surrounding their new collection, it has not deterred them from following their brand’s mantra of ‘Questioning Boundaries’.
If anything, they seem reaffirmed in their ethos saying:
Our motto will never change. It will only get stronger.
Freedom is the most important value in our company. We will go where our Freedom tells us to go to. We will go where true love is. Hopefully we will find it.
While we can agree with freedom of expression, I can wholeheartedly say I feel very little sympathy for the backlash shown to KA Designs.
Despite their good intentions it seems like their attempt at freedom of expression and use of such a controversial symbol to stir up debate was tone-deaf the minute it hit the idea board.
But what do you think? Is this an abuse of freedom expression? Is the brand’s good intention just tone deaf? Or are we just being too PC? Sound off in the comments section.