Sometimes, turning something negative into a positive can yield great results; however, not in the case of a company’s poorly-executed attempt to "reclaim" the swastika.
European company KA Design has found itself under fire for a line of T-shirts and hoodies with swastikas printed on them over a rainbow background and accompanied by words, such as “peace,” “zen,” and “love.”
Needless to say, the swastika symbol is not associated with any of the aforementioned words and is known to represent hate, white supremacy, and the Nazi regime.
As you may have suspected, the controversial design was not received well by the public. When KA Design presented its new line in a Facebook video, the responses were everything but positive.
Even the executive director of the Israeli-Jewish Congress, Arsen Ostrovsky, chimed in to condemn the design upon spotting items from the line being sold by online retailer Teespring.
Teespring has since pulled the line from its site amid the backlash, but KA Design stands behind its decision to use the symbol in an effort to transform the meaning of it.
“We really enjoy the swastika,” the KA Design team reportedly said in an email to Mic. “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.”
It was once a sacred symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism; however, when the Nazis took it as their signature logo and turned it a slight 45 degrees, the meaning changed drastically.
KA Design’s clothing items include both the original swastika and the modified Nazi version.
“We understand and accept every criticism,” the KA team said. “However, we didn’t expect so much hate from people. Our project goes strictly against Nazi values and doesn’t in any way support them. But a large number of people called us Nazi. We ask forgiveness to those people. We want to evoke love with our project, not hatred. We don’t want people to do the same mistake the Nazis did. We don’t want people to hate and discriminate someone or something without even fully knowing or understanding.”
Although the company expressed apologetic sentiments and clarified their own intent behind the merchandise, they maintain that they “wouldn't care” if neo-Nazis decided to embrace their clothing and buy it to further perpetuate hate and intimidate others.
“The aim of this project is not to generate profit, whatever the source of the money. Absolutely not. We think the message on our apparel is clear: peace, love and freedom win over hatred, war and prejudice. If some kind of neo-Nazi goes out wearing our shirt, he will raise the same kind of questions and discussions as a communist wearing the same shirt. That’s why we don’t care about who buys the shirts.”
KA Design's so-called intentions may be in the right place, but let's face it: The swastika is not and never will be an acceptable fashion trend. This stunt is a blatant slap in the face to the lives lost in the Holocaust, as well as to the survivors.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Reuters