People are angry about a choker that is basically a belt — and not just because belts belong on pants. ASOS is selling a belt designed to be worn around your neck, and apparently the brand didn’t see the creepy connection to death until folks pointed it out.
The necklace is notched like a belt circling the neck, with the slack hanging down in front. It was being sold on the site for more than $60, in colors like red and black — fitting for a necklace dubbed the Hanger Latex Flame Choker, a name that is just making matters worse.
The choker is no longer on the site, but enough shoppers saw it before its death — no pun intended — to turn it into a viral lashing (again, not intended) of the brand.
First were the fashionistas outraged at ASOS’s lack of creativity. “Urm. @ASOS are you drunk?! What the hell!” one Twitter user wrote.
— Nidha✨ (@NidhaMohammed) January 16, 2018
They've literally just put a belt round her neck haven't they? It's not even a 'special' necklace. I've seen shop windows in Soho that sell these …
— Kate Sutton (@IAmWitWitWoo) January 17, 2018
— Tracy ( Mrs C) (@mearns_tracy) January 17, 2018
45 quid for a belt! I have an old belt so I'm covered, may try this out today or maybe not
— thefatunicorns (@baratnumbersix) January 16, 2018
Then viewers noticed the negative connotations (intentional or not). A Mumsnet user shared a screenshot of the item, with the caption, “I do not get offended easily, at all. I thought this was hideous, but together with the pose and brand name, isn’t it vile and insensitive? I’ve tweeted ASOS with no response … am I over reacting?” Someone replied, “That’s awful. The name, the image. I hope this isn’t triggering for anyone.” A Twitter user accused the brand of attempting “to make suicide fashionable.”
So disgusted with @ASOS – it seems that in at a time when death by suicide is becoming more common they attempt to make suicide fashionable. The pose, the belt, the branding on the tee – sickening #MentalHealthAwareness #mentalhealth #MentalHealthMatters pic.twitter.com/UDs4xpgv7X
— Lexoctopus (@Lexoctopus) January 16, 2018
@ASOS @ASOS_Us Absolutely unacceptable to sell belt necklaces named ‘hanger latex’ with a model wearing a shirt that reads ‘hanger;’ suicide is a harrowing epidemic that plagues your buyer demographic. How careless and harmful to glorify this as a fashion accessory, remove it. pic.twitter.com/2xitKcchre
— kylie souder (@kyliesouder) January 15, 2018
ASOS selling a “choker” which is literally just a belt around a model’s neck… they uh… didn’t see the issue with that?
— Lou (@L0uWri) January 16, 2018
Some are defending the brand, while others are pointing out that the message might have been “sexual rather than suicide.” But the rest think it’s “vile” either way. “Horrible. Inappropriate in both a suicide and fetish manner. It needs to be taken down imo, and I am normally pretty tolerant. If it’s ‘just a belt’ then show it around her waist…” one wrote. “Christ almighty, that’s bad. Whether you take it as fetish style clothing, or whether your mind immediately goes to the suicide suggestion, there is nothing good in that image.”
Although ASOS hasn’t responded to the uproar, one thing we know for sure is that it didn’t name the item Hanger to offend anyone. Because ASOS didn’t name it at all. Hanger is the company that designs this range of accessories, which also includes similarly styled bikini tops and jackets.
ASOS has a knack for selling strange items. In fact, its “dripping blood” choker might look good layered with this one.
And the label isn’t the only one to distastefully attempt to turn death into a trend.
Just a few months ago, an Istanbul Fashion Week presentation resembled a bloody massacre more than a fashion show, with models covered in what looked like blood and carrying fake hearts. One model even waved around a knife before others fell to the ground.
Hu Sheguang’s 2016 China Fashion Week show was full of red, with unsettling details such as a model holding two blood-coated baby dolls and horned figures.
In 2010, bloodshed and war inspired Josephus Thimister’s Spring Couture collection. His lavish designs were darkened by dripping blood.
While we love a good Alexander McQueen skull, anything more realistic than that and it seems everyone agrees: Death does not become her.
ASOS did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
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