Bad Kids Clothing is "an EDM-inspired clothing line, selling neon ravewear," slogan tees, slogan tank tops, and some accessories.
A few weeks back, they took on a custom order for a friend and printed some tank tops for a group attending a Taylor Swift concert.
Since Cory Monteith's death, however, the tanks have been amended. While the tanks are still for sale on the brand's site (here and here), Monteith's name is now removed from the list of Swift's rumored paramours.
Enraged by the apparent slur on Swift's virtues, her fans had mobilized.
The brand's email and social media accounts were flooded with Swifties requesting that the tank tops be removed from sale, burned in a dark alleyway and never spoken of again, basically. Bad Kids Clothing and the offending design, they wished, would never ever ever get back together. (It had to be said.)
Rather than back down, however, Houser and BKC's marketing director Andi Cross fought back. Yes, this is becoming the plot of a Taylor Swift ballad.
They posted many of the offensive messages on the Bad Kids Clothing Tumblr, and updated the brand's other social media platforms similarly. What came next? A backlash to the backlash! In making what they labeled a "cyber-bullying" campaign public, the brand began to notice an upturn in sales. Reached today, Cross explained that this was at first buoyed by their friends and existing customers, but grew exponentially as word of their "larger message of anti-bullying [spread] to the masses. Speaking with Fashionista, Houser and Cross explained "[We] I both had a history of being cyber bullied growing up, and these kids are thinking if they just tell us that they're going to kill us and that 30 million people are going to attack us, that we would just do what they said... That rubbed us the wrong way."
Here are some of highlights from the Tumblr:
Some of the Swifties' messages were civil enough. Serious, but civil.
And a few packed an emotional punch.
Some packed a punny punch.
And some were just a bit mean, really.
Many referenced the Swifties' recent campaign against Abercrombie & Fitch.
And many also included not-so-veiled threats.
"Or else :)"
Also, of course, there were lots of tweets.
But as you would expect from angry internet mobs, the finest of the hateful bunch came in ALL CAPS emails:
And starting your correspondence with "HEY BITCH" is always bound to work out.
Now technically there's one lowercase letter here but let's not let that ruin the sentiment. Especially not considering the outright death threat.
And a fine few reached the very heights of troll-dom.
To the point that you almost can't believe they're real, even though you hope they are. (And that they aren't.)
In an email to BuzzFeed Fashion, Cross said some of the Swifties have now apologized for their incensed messages (though many have not, and are continuing with their salvo).
Cross continued, "Our sales have increased astronomically, by 50%. Upon launch, it was friends and loyal followers who were picking up the [Swift-centric] design, but it has now stretched to international sales requests." Their story has now appeared on multiple fashion blogs and news sites. "Our social media following has since grown immensely since the launch of the shirt, with a [huge] increase of 200 followers on Facebook, followers on Instagram, and impressions on Twitter," Cross added.
She and Houser are even planning to bring Matt Doherty, who'd first asked them for the custom shirt, on board. He'll work as Bad Kids Clothing's "pop culture designer." His role: "to entertain the public, while sharing messages of a better tomorrow." With Doherty's ideas, the brand will be launching a redesign and new line in the next few weeks. Says Cross, "We can only imagine the response coming our way."