A design company hoping to rebrand the swastika as a symbol of peace and love is feeling quite the opposite on social media. Per the BBC, KA Design’s shirts featuring a swastika next to words like “zen” and “peace” have been pulled from its online shop after an uproar. In an interview with Dazed, KA Design says that the design’s juxtaposition of swastikas emblazoned over rainbows evoking peace flags and the LGBTQ movement is meant to reclaim the controversial symbol: “We really like the symbol in its shape and aesthetics, and we would love to share the beauty of this symbol detached from the hatred associated with it.” The swastika, which means well-being in Sanskrit, had been used for at least 4,000 years across many cultures before it was co-opted in the 1930s by Adolf Hitler and used on the Nazi flag.
But few are sharing the company’s zeal for bringing back the symbol. KA Design told Dazed that it couldn’t disclose information on sales, but that since people don’t normally see swastikas in a fashion context, they may not feel comfortable wearing one on a shirt. User feedback on the company’s Facebook page suggests, however, people are irate that the shirts were made in the first place. A video released by KA Design in July championing its effort has more than 2 million views, but seems to be going viral for all the wrong reasons. Comments ranged from disbelief to outrage, with one user summing it up thusly: “this absurd new design company has 2 million views on their Facebook, and about 11,000 angry comments.” The company posted a message about the backlash Monday, saying that hatred and "Nazism" had won: “We brought out the worst in people. We believe in a world of infinite forgiveness. We forgive everyone. And we hope to be forgiven.” (Read more swastikas stories.)