I try to picture the staff meetings where they approved, for example, Burberry's hoodie with a hangman's noose hanging from the neck. One in five suicides is by hanging. As in using a noose. So let's just make self-murder by strangulation a fashion statement. That's so very thoughtful. And then there's the racial interpretation: This was on a hoodie; you know, hoodies, which a lot of people associate with crime in black communities; you know, noose, as in lynching; you know, lynching, as in the 3,959 black people killed by white bigots in racial terror lynchings in the USA. "Oh yeah, that's cool," says one staffer, looking at the design. "It's, like, sympathetic to black people." Or, "Yeah this is to be sympathetic to families of people who hung themselves." Right. Didn't anyone at the meeting say, "It'll look like the opposite of that"? I bet they thought it. But they were too scared of Staff Meeting Disapproval to risk saying anything. It's called Ethical Stupidity. Or it might be just vapid fashion designer stupidity.
More vapid fashion designer stupidity: Gucci's blackface wool jumper; fast-fashion chain Zara was forced to a handbag on featuring four swastikas and a striped children's shirt with a yellow star, an item very, very much like clothing forced on Jews in concentration camps; Zara--who NEVER LEARNS!--also obtusely offered a t-shirt reading, "White is the new black," apparently in sympathy with white people who claim they're persecuted for being white.
One of the most amazingly stupid was retail giant H&M's ad featuring a black child modeling a t-shirt declaring: "coolest monkey in the jungle." Would like to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting. "Oh, they'll love that...I'm sure they will. Truly."
But arguably the stupidest of all was Bstroy's hoodies, worn by youthful models, printed with fake bullet holes and the names of schools where mass shootings had happened. Just...astonishing. The Big Boss of the company tried to claim that it was some kind of backhanded, backdoor sympathy for young people frightened by a dangerous world...something, vague and glib, of that sort. Really? What this fashion stunt actually is: Completely indifference to the feelings of people whose children were slaughtered in mass shootings; completely indifference to the feelings of millions of parents who fear that such a thing could happen to their children. What it is, also, is a way to harden people's hearts to the seriousness of mass murders. An internet response to it that typifies how the public reacted: "I would just like to say, what actual the hell is wrong with you. (Expletive) monetizing off a school shooting. Disgusting." Did they know there would be vast outrage and just not care because they wanted to publicity for their brand? Is their customer demographic sneering gun loving ultra cynical young psychopaths? Does the company's CEO have stock in the manufacturer of AR15s? If it's any of that, it's colossal Ethical Stupidity. If not--it's stunning, monumental cluelessness that seems to unintentionally parody the whole modern world.