J.Crew dipped its manicured toes into political waters–and it did not go over well.
It inspired over a thousand comments on the J.Crew Instagram account, with many taking issue that a child would wear such a seemingly politically charged choice of apparel. The cotton T-shirt was made in collaboration with prinkshop, an activist-minded brand with a “wear what you care about” point of view, reads the J.Crew website. The shirt retails for $29.50 (which surprisingly, did not spur any protest). J.Crew donates 10% of prinkshop sales to Girl Up, an organization housed by the United Nations Foundation that supports the empowerment of adolescent girls.
Some fans thought the young boy, by virtue of his age, was a poor choice for such a T-shirt, while others protested the entire concept, no matter the model’s age or gender. They believe the term feminist has become associated with progressive or liberal values, a notion they think has no place for such a nationwide retailer. Many felt it was a shallow play for left-leaning customers.
“I’m really unsure who advises companies to be so political with the chance of losing half or more of your sales,” wrote one disgruntled customer. “And for those saying feminism is not political: Most of the rhetoric coming from feminists are [sic] about being pro-abortion and anti-Christian. [It’s a] terrible business strategy and sad to force it onto a young boy. I hope you [are] all enjoying selling out a $30 T-shirt made most likely by young severely underpaid girls in an Asian country while losing thousands of customers.”
There are plenty of others who support the T-shirt’s message, as demonstrated by the post’s nearly 17,000 likes. “Bravo, @jcrew!,” wrote one fan, adding a hand-clapping emoji. “This is fashion with a purpose. Thank you for taking a stand and supporting human rights for all. I don’t have children, but if I did, I’d buy one for each!”
Some followers argued the slogan was not inherently partisan, with one responding, “Raising and teaching equality is absolutely not pushing a political agenda.”
Sadly, the back-and-forth Instagram arguments quickly escalated, with users roping in American leaders, the current administration and other hot-button topics. One commentator stressed, “We don’t need more #Soyboys and #Snowflakes–stop it,” while another shot back, “It would be 10x better if instead the back said “Just kidding, grab em by the pussy!” Amirite???”
Some tried to broker peace between all the kids’ clothing shoppers, inciting those who felt frustrated to perhaps not to read too much into . . . well, a kids’ T shirt.
J.Crew, for their part, seem unfazed by the uproar and committed to the shirt’s messaging. In a statement to TODAY.com, the retailer stated, “J.Crew stands for equality, and is for everybody.”
This is not J.Crew’s only foray into political wear. The retailer just recently announced its “Love First” collection, which honors LGBTQ Pride Month and benefits the Human Rights Campaign.