Dolls Kill is a fairly famous online retailer whose selling tag is clothes for the “Misfits and Miss Legits.” According to its website, it sells clothes “featuring a rebellious spirit and attitude, mixed with a bit of punk rock, goth, glam, and festival fashion.”
However, Dolls Kill has gained an infamous reputation for being a bad store. One quick Google search asking, “Why is Dolls Kill bad?” will reveal a list of serious controversies.
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Is Dolls Kill Bad?
Founded in 2011, Dolls Kill was the pet project of Shoddy Lynn and her husband, Bobby Farahi. Farahi already had previous experience as the founder and CEO of a broadcast monitoring service, and Lynn started entering the e-commerce space by selling clothes on eBay.
Dolls Kill started as an online store for more alternative clothing, like colorful fox tails. It was heavily marketed to young women who enjoy music festivals and raves.
Three years later, in 2014, Dolls Kill got several million in funding from a venture capital firm, and it became the fastest-growing private company in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2017, its first physical pop-up store was opened, and in 2018, the company licensed and re-launched the Delia’s brand and raised almost 20 million dollars in funding. The Delia’s brand is a 1990s brand, which is a sub-label to Dolls Kill.
Why is Dolls Kill a Controversial Brand?
There are many reasons Dolls Kill is controversial, despite its successful beginning. It has been criticized for cultural appropriation, offensive product names, unethical labor practices, poor environmental regulations, and copying designs. This article will explore each of these issues.
Cultural Appropriation Controversies
Dolls Kill has had several people comment that their products are inappropriately appropriating other cultures. One of the best examples of this is their use of Native American headdresses and other cultural symbols that they used in their product with little regard. In 2014 as the company was reaching new highs in popularity, a Huffpost article derided them for selling a Native American Headdress in a Halloween collection.
Offensive Product Names
Dolls Kill has used product names such as “Goth is White” and “Lolita.” A startling amount of their products have had similarly sexist, racist, or inappropriate names. There have been shirts with racial slurs, sexist jokes, and other offensive content.
Additionally, Dolls Kill has sold several shirts with phrases with deeply concerning messages about eating disorders. Many have agreed that these messages promoted anorexia and bulimia to customers.
Dolls Kill has also sold clothes that mention disorders, which many people have found distasteful. They have sold clothing with slogans like “ADHD” and “A Cut Above the Rest” in reference to the harmful process of self-harm.
Even one of their soap products said, “Social anxiety smells like a list of pre-planned excuses,” which many found dismissive.
Perhaps one of their most egregious and disgusting slogans was a shirt that said “Dead Girls Can’t Say No,” which brought immediate backlash from almost every outlet.
It prompted a massive outcry from the consumer base and the industry. All of these issues are especially concerning given that Dolls Kill deliberately markets to a young audience. Many people have boycotted the company in response.
Unethical Labor Practices
Like many online retailers, Dolls Kill is a fast fashion brand. Unfortunately, there have been many reports that this mass production of clothing comes from the exploitation of its workers and a lack of ethical labor practices.
There have been several serious allegations of poor working conditions and mistreatment of employees.
Poor Environmental Regulation
Unethical labor practices and poor environmental regulation typically go hand in hand, and that is the case here. Dolls Kill has been criticized heavily for its negative environmental impact on the production and shipping of its products.
In 2015, artist Jamie Hollis officially accused Dolls Kill of stealing her work without giving her credit or compensation and using it in a product. After the accusation, the company did not respond and only blocked Hollis on social media.
Dolls Kill has been accused of similar copying of designs from other artists. It has also been criticized for selling counterfeit products, which are not authentic and flaunt safety standards.
These products are poorly made, could have harmful materials, and do not last very long. In addition to this controversy, Dolls Kill has been accused of selling used products as new.
One of the Biggest Controversies Involved Black Lives Matter
During heightened awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, the CEO and founder Shoddy Lynn posted a picture of her store surrounded by many armed police officers during the protest.
Her caption was, “Direct action in its glory. #black lives matter.” Many people were very angry at this sign of support for the police force, and the backlash was so bad that Lynn filmed an apology video.
She uploaded this apology video on Twitter, but most of her consumers who left considered it a poor apology. They called it scripted and inauthentic. This controversy led to people collectively recounting Dolls Kill’s many other issues with their product names and more.
Has Dolls Kill Changed?
Sometimes it is possible for companies or people to change their actions and move toward more positive steps that benefit everyone. However, Dolls Kill has tried to do minimal damage control for its controversies instead of actually addressing the root issues.
It removed most of the offensive products being called out, as well as released the official apology from Shoddy Lynn. However, they made no efforts to be more transparent about their environmental impact and unethical labor practices.
There have also been several serious complaints about poor customer service. Dolls Kill has very poor ratings from reviewers because of their response to returns and exchanges, as well as other defects in their products.
For customers looking for funky, edgy, and cute alternative fashion to wear to music festivals or raves, there are plenty of better online retailers to use instead of Dolls Kill. Dolls Kill just has a ridiculous amount of baggage and complaints that it would be better to shop at another company for punk, emo, goth, and other styles of fashion.
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