Design house ban.do blasted for 'romanticising mental illness' after releasing 'depression' and 'anxiety' necklaces
Design house ban.do has been accused of "romanticising mental illness" by social media users unhappy with the release of nameplate jewellery on their site.
User Ja'mie King sparked uproar on Twitter after posting a picture of two nameplate necklaces, one that read 'depression' and the other "anxiety". The online shop also stocks another with the word "bipolar".
Commenting on the accessories, King wrote: "Yikes...@shopbando Romanticizing mental illness is very uncool...even worse that you are doing it for profit."
Soon enough, her tweet blew up, gaining almost 21,000 likes and over 4,000 retweets, with thousands of people on the social media site disgusted with the brand's decision to stock the 14k yellow gold vermeil necklaces.
Twitter user @AccioKookiee wrote: "eek mental health isn't something to be used as a fashion accessory :l", while user @3rdEyeMichael expressed concern about the effect the necklaces would have on people, stating: "The problem is that people see this and think damn having depression is cool i want depression then they think theyre depressed , im not hatingnon someone dor embracing who they are but flaunting it on a necklace seems like the wrong way to donit".
However, despite the condemnation online, the design house still had hundreds of supporters who were willing to stick up for them. People suffering with depression, bipolar and anxiety flocked to the post to claim that - rather than being inappropriate - the necklaces were helping destigmatise mental illness.
Twitter user @RoboGrapefruit wrote: "ngl i have clinically diagnosed severe depression and anxiety, and i would wear the f*** out of this. joking about my mental illness and wearing it on my sleeve (or around my neck in this case) is the only way i can cope with it. i get others feel differently, but i’d buy it." In addition, @facelessfuckers commented saying: "I see one [a therapist] every week and I’m still buyin the damn necklace to show I am not ashamed of my mental illness".
One day after the post had been published, ban.do themselves waded into the conversation, defending their decision to stock the controversial accessories. "These necklaces were designed by our founder jen who has bipolar disorder," they wrote on Twitter. "And all net proceeds from these necklaces go directly to @BC2M, a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging dialogue about mental health and to raising awareness, understanding, and empathy."
The design house added: "so far we have seen a conversation open up about mental illness - both positive and negative- and we really appreciate your thoughts and opinions on the subject. if you want to learn more about our initiative head to https://t.co/6CvMnv0BEI"
On their website, there is further information about their endeavour, with their founder Jen Gotch opening up about her mental health struggles.
"I have struggled with mental health issues for most of my life and i know how challenging it can be both personally and professionally," she writes. "It’s so important for us to open up a dialogue about how we are feeling and get to a place where we are comfortable asking for and receiving help. one thing we can all do is work to remove the stigmas associated with mental illness. these necklaces are a step in doing that and i hope they can also serve as a conversation starter for people to be more open about what’s going on in their minds. wear it in good (mental) health."
Many of the "depression", "anxiety" and "bipolar" necklaces - which are priced at $48 each - hold five-star reviews from users on the ban.do website.