‘Tattoo’ Clothing Under Fire
December 20, 2011 by staff
‘Tattoo’ Clothing Under Fire, Clothier H&M is coming under fire for its deal with the “feel bad movie of Christmas,” The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The clothing line based on the film, one rape survivor argues, is making sexual abuse chic and fashionable.
Natalie Karneef, the critic in question, wrote to H&M: “Stieg Larsson was inspired to write The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because he witnessed a girl getting gang raped when he was 15 years old. I’ve heard it said that being raped is like getting a tattoo – it never goes away. I hope your shoppers bear this in mind before they emulate Lisbeth Salander.”
Perhaps even more damning, the book itself mentions (and dismisses) H&M.
The just-launched co-branded H&M collection is designed by Trish Summerville, the film’s costume designer, based on the wardrobe she designed for the main character, Lisbeth Salander, a sex abuse and rape victim hellbent on revenge. The brand has even leveraged the film deal for Girl with Dragon Tattoo holiday pop-up shops.
In H&M’s promotional parlance, the inspiration for the line was that Salander was the “very essence of an independent woman,” a bit of spin about a rape victim that insulted Karneef and other critics.
H&M issued this response to Karneef’s criticism:
“We have read the open letter by Natalie Karnef [sic] and we apologize if she or anyone has been offended by the Stockholm collection – this has not in any way been our intent. The collection is based on and inspired by the film and character Lisbeth Salander and though we think Lisbeth is a strong woman who stands up for her ideal, we are not trying to represent her specifically. Our goal is to rather offer a collection that we see in today’s trend picture that will appeal to many customers. We do not view this collection as provocative—it contains pieces that are staples in many people’s wardrobes: jeans, biker jackets and t-shirts. It’s all about how you wear them. We encourage our customers to find their own personal way to wear our products.”
Would H&M have collaborated on a collection if the movie and book were released under the original Swedish title for the book, M?n Som Hatar Kvinnor (“Men Who Hate Women”)? Unlikely.
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