Toria Sheffield
August 08, 2017 10:34 am
janzgrossetkino/Getty Images

In today’s terrible judgement news, a clothing brand called KA design has released a line of swastika-inspired T-shirts. That’s right. As in the shirts feature rainbow-colored swastikas, surrounded by words like, “love,” “zen,” and “peace.”

Bizarrely enough, the company does not promote hate speech or Nazi ideology. Instead, this was an (incredibly tone-deaf and misguided) attempt to “take back” a symbol that the Nazis usurped for their hateful agenda. The company released an explanation of their intent in a video on their Facebook page, stating,

“This is a swastika. It’s 5,000 years old. It’s a symbol of peace. It’s a symbol of love. It’s a symbol of luck. It’s a symbol of infinity. It’s a symbol of life.”

And these are the shirts in question:

KA design

Okay, so we understand what the company is trying to do in theory. It’s technically true — the swastika was around long before it was a symbol of the Nazi party. HOWEVER (and this is a big, major however) — the meaning of symbols, just like the meaning of words — change and evolve over time. 

Today, without question, the swastika evokes images and memories of one of the most horrific events in modern history. Branding it on a sweatshirt with a few rainbows and catch phrases will not change or undermine that fact, and instead seems to merely make light of it, which disrespects and degrades the experiences of many people.

And people were understandably outraged:

However, the brand refuses to apologize for their decision, saying in a statement for Dazed.com,

Okay then. We guess KA design technically has the right to print whatever they want. And we have the right to 100% not buy it and voice our outrage. Hopefully the KA team will reevaluate their decision soon, and in the meantime, we know where we won’t be shopping.

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