A new line of shirts from Kitson LA and designer Brian Lichtenberg with the names of prescription pills on the back have sparked outrage from people who say the shirts are insensitive and insulting.
The collection of shirts has been dubbed the “designer drugs collection,” and are “a parody of pop culture,” said Lichtenberg in a statement.
“This particular collection of prescription tee’s is simply a commentary on what I see happening in our society,” he said. “Call it what you may, but art in all forms is created off of pop culture and the social situations that surround it. A large percentage of Americans are prescribed these drugs by doctors everyday for legitimate reasons . These are not illegal substances. These tee’s are not meant to encourage prescription drug abuse, but if they open the door to a much needed dialogue, as they seem to be doing now, then mission accomplished.”
The shirts range from $58 to $98 and come in short sleeve or long sleeve.
People engaging with the company and Lichtenberg on social media have voiced concern and anger over the new collection.
“You obviously haven’t had a son or daughter die in your home from an overdose on prescription pills, as I have and the thousands of other parents have!!!” wrote Jodi Barber. “Do you not understand that my son and the thousands of other sons and daughters who died, didn’t start off with the opiates!! They all started with the ADDERALL, the Xanax, etc.”
Said another, Courtney Taylor:
“I am not sure what I am more disgusted by.. this line of clothing or your insulting attempt to combat the backlash by hiding behind a tired & poorly crafted ‘It’s art’ defense.. You may want to fire whomever is doing your PR and seek advice from someone who actually understands Crisis PR. Had you apologized and pulled this deeply offensive line of ‘parody’ clothing from your store immediately you may have offset long term damage to your brand. I find this release arrogant, entitled, ignorant and insulting.”
UPDATE: Representatives of Xanax, Adderall, and Vicodin have threatened to sue unless the shirts are taken off the shelves.