Vetements hit with criticism over divisive ‘Don’t Shoot’ T-shirt

Vetements has been criticised for including a T-shirt with the words “Don’t Shoot” in its latest line.The Zurich-based clothing brand, founded by Georgian designer Demna Gvasalia, is no stranger to controversy, having previously hit headlines for selli…

Vetements has been criticised for including a T-shirt with the words “Don’t Shoot” in its latest line.

The Zurich-based clothing brand, founded by Georgian designer Demna Gvasalia, is no stranger to controversy, having previously hit headlines for selling a T-shirt with the logo of courier company DHL on it in 2016 and the following year, releasing jewellery that doubles as drug paraphernalia.

However, Vetements is now facing scrutiny for including a white T-shirt with “Don’t Shoot” written in red text in Arabic, French, and English at its spring/summer 2020 show held as part of Paris Fashion Week: Men’s last week.

Noting that the top is similar to those worn by journalists in Lebanon during the Israeli invasion in 1982, one Twitter user named Sarina commented, “Didn’t know I couldn’t hate Vetements even more. This T-shirt was worn by War reporters in Beirut during the 1982 conflict between Lebanon and Israel. This war is the primary reason why I had to leave Lebanon to the U.S. then Canada. And Vetements thinks it’s a fashion piece?????????”

While Lebanese influencer Samar Seraqui de Buttafoco shared a lengthy post on Instagram in which she insisted Vetements’ T-shirt was “more serious” than cultural appropriation.

“This is business activism for DUMMIES. Hope you will act like a responsible consumer. Hope some fashion editors will dedicate time to think and report. Hope to more respectability in the fashion industry,” she wrote.

In addition, others pointed out that Khalid Al-Qasimi, founder of London-based brand Qasimi, had made a version of the original T-shirt for his fall 2017 collection with the intention of making a political statement.

Emphasising the he doesn’t have copyright to the logo, Al-Qasimi told Vogue Arabia: “I used that print to highlight the plight of something going on in the Middle East. For Vetements to use it in such a flippant and provocative manner; I don’t think they realise what these words mean to us Arabs.”

Representatives for Vetements and Gvasalia are yet to comment on the criticism.

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