Moschino is currently selling a collection full of pill prints, such as an $895 wool sweater dress at Saks, and a $745 leather shoulder bag at Selfridges, both from the line’s Spring/Summer ‘17 capsule line. It’s all clearly in designer Jeremy Scott’s oeuvre of attempting to whimsically translate the American everyday into pop culture, but one drug counselor doesn’t think this line is all that fun.
WWD reports that Randy Anderson of Minneapolis’s Eden House Recovery Services has begun a petition to Moschino, Saks and other stores selling the products, lambasting what he perceives as the lack of awareness in profiting off drug imagery:
It would appear that you are unaware that our country is in the midst of a severe epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths – acknowledged by the federal government as the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history. According to the CDC, in 2014 47,055 people died of an accidental drug overdose - with 29,467 of those from opioid related drugs which includes prescription pain medication and heroin. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in this country. The studies show that four out of five of those that became addicted to heroin started with a legal prescription from their physician after an injury or a medical procedure was performed.
These accessory items you are choosing to market and sell to the public for profit, which include the Chain-Strap Prescription Bottle Bag and Printed Backpack, will most likely promote more drug use. Do you have any idea of the message your company is sending to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to a drug overdose? Have you not seen the countless number of media reports on overdose deaths from prescription pain medication, including the rock and roll icon Prince?
While it’s debatable whether these clothes will actually end up in more kids getting hooked on pills, it is true that the trademark cheekiness with which they’re marketed displays a lack of sensitivity. The collection is entitled “Just Say MoschiNO,” and also includes a $950 handbag that mimics a prescription pill bottle. (A more affordable iPhone case most resembles a pack of allergy medication, which I can personally attest is indeed so hot right now. Fall, amirite.)
That said: to Anderson, other drug counselors, and those of us who’ve lost people to opioids, it is quite absurd for a brand so entrenched in contemporary Americana to not recognize what these pills might symbolize—or maybe it does and is simply trading on the “cool.” But shit like this looks hella dumb:
Anderson’s petition is addressed to Saks and Moschino and Nordstrom; the latter stopped selling items from this collection on October 6 after initially declining. “We appreciate all the constructive feedback we received from concerned customers,” said a spokesperson, “and ultimately decided to remove the collection from our site and the three stores where we offered it.”
Anderson, who is a recovered addict and has been sober since 2005, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that this collection “is an insult to all the mothers who call him each week to say they lost a child from a prescription drug overdose”:
“As an alcohol and drug counselor, I can’t treat dead people,” Anderson said. “At the number and the rate that people are dying in this country, it’s working me out of a job and that’s not acceptable.”
The number of overdose deaths from prescription drugs and opioid pain relievers—as well as heroin and benzodiazepines—in the US has been steadily increasing over the last decade, according to the CDC. Deaths from opioids, including prescription painkillers, increased by 14 percent from 2013 to 2014. In 2014, over 47,000 nationwide people died from opioid overdose.
Correction: The initial version of this post said that Anderson’s petition only targeted Saks and Moschino, and implied Nordstrom pulled items of its own accord; in fact, it was also addressed to Nordstrom, and the store eventually pulled the Moschino garments in response to the petition. Jezebel regrets the error.