Twitter Reacts To Fashion Company Releasing Rainbow Swastikas T-Shirts

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

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In yet another 'what were they thinking' branding moment - following the likes of Kendall Jenner's Pepsi campaign and Nivea's 'White Is Purity' controversy - a US 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 as a way of 'taking back' the symbol. A symbol which is widely know to have been used by the Nazis from the 1930s to promote their racist and abusive agenda.

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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.

The swastika is an ancient symbol said to have represented good fortune across various cultures around the world.

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' symbol 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 apologise 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.

Unfortunately, Andrew Anglin, editor of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer 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.

Now, at a stretch (and we mean at a very long stretch), we can try to understand the company's wish to bring back the former peace-evoking sentiment of the swastika recognised long before Nazism.

However, in the same way that language, meaning and symbolism evolves over time, an attempt to 'reclaim' the swastika, erase the horrific traumas and atrocities faced by victims of the Third Reich, undermine or make light or previous connotations of the symbol is deeply offensive, disrespectful and downright disgusting.

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The swastika evokes a deep-rooted sentiment of pain and hatred for men and women across the world in the 20th Century, and beyond. One cannot escape the fact the swastika is widely recognised as a 'symbol of hate'. Previous meanings of the symbol, no matter how peace-promoting they were, are simply nul-en-void.

Likewise, the inclusion of the eight-colour rainbow – created in 1978 by the late San Francisco-based artist Gilbert Baker as a symbol for the LGBTQ community – is yet another slap in the face to members of society who were directly persecuted by the Nazi regime for their sexuality, gender and identity.

Days after publicising 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, 'but it seems very naive'.

Rest assured, we won't be purchasing the offensive T-shirt.

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