Twitter Reacts to Fashion Company Releasing Rainbow Swastika T-Shirts

KA Designs said they wanted to "share the beauty of this symbol detached from the hatred associated with it."

In yet another "what were they thinking" branding moment, a U.S. clothing company has come under fire after releasing a line of T-shirts featuring swastikas.

The clothing brand is called KA Designs and their aim, they say, is to reclaim the symbol as one of "love."

Rather than promote Nazi ideology, hate speech, or anti-Semitism, the company—which claims to be based "somewhere in Europe"—launched the incredibly misguided shirts as a way of "taking back" the symbol.

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In an attempt to explain their mission, the company posted a video on their Facebook page last week explaining the history of the swastika symbol and their aim of changing perceptions.

"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," relays the video.

However, during WWII, it was adopted by Adolf Hitler and transformed into a symbol of hate associated primarily with the Third Reich.

Unsurprisingly, news of the T-shirts caused outrage on social media.

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Explaining the decision to use the symbol, the company behind the campaign said they wanted to "share the beauty of this symbol detached from the hatred associated with it."

However, the brand refused to apologize for its use of the swastika, adding they "wouldn't care" if the products were bought by "some kind of neo-Nazi."

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.

Andrew Anglin, editor of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer (opens in new tab) site, voiced his support for the company's T-shirts.

"I want to say that I am in 100 per cent support of the rebranding of the Swastika as a symbol of love," he wrote in an article.

Days after publicizing the swastika design, the company replaced the T-shirts with a new "anti-swastika" range of merchandise (a red "ban" sign printed on top of the rainbow swastika), which has been viewed by some as a way of banking on controversial advertising campaigns.

"It may be that this company wanted the notoriety on social media," Rebecca Battman, head of brand at RBL Brand Agency in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire told the BBC (opens in new tab). "But it seems very naive."

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Katie O’Malley is the Deputy Digital Editor, at ELLE UK. On a daily basis you’ll find her managing all digital workflow, editing site, video and social media content, liaising with commercial and sales teams on new partnerships and deals, implementing new digital strategies and compiling endless data traffic, SEO and ecomm reports. Since joining in 2016, Katie has written features on everything from sex addiction, and the use of tear gas during protests to virtual cuddling, ‘friendship fade’ and access to contraception post Brexit. Her list of interviewees over the years include those with Oprah Winfrey, Benedict Cumberbatch, Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone, Zoe Kravitz etc.