Controversy swirls around clothing brand aiming to help Toronto's homeless
A Toronto clothing company that sprung up seemingly overnight has ignited controversy about whether or not it's exploiting those who experience homelessness for profit.
The newly launched Homeless Toronto sells apparel and accessories ranging from $20 to $120. However, some of these items come emblazoned with slogans such as, "change please," "home less, explore more," and simply, "homeless."
this is a clothing brand in toronto that charges $50 for a shirt that says HOMELESS and a cup/mug with CHANGE PLEASE on it for $20.......why pic.twitter.com/4KEtonbOWq— ዳና (@nondanajpg) February 22, 2017
While the Homeless Toronto founders say they're donating 40 per cent of their profits to non-profit organizations that work with marginalized people - such as Eva's Place - critics say that's not enough.
As of yesterday, according to a Vice report, Eva's Place was unaware of Homeless Toronto and has not partnered with the local brand in any way.
Others say the clothing company is glamorizing the idea of homelessness.
Novel idea: creating a brand that gives back to Toronto's homeless *without exploiting them as caricatures*— Josh Kolm (@JoshKolm) February 22, 2017
Homeless Toronto, which says its brand stands for "positivity" and "change," responded to this controversy on Instagram.
"It was not our intent to offend or feel as though we were exploiting homelessness," reads part of the statement.
"Our brand is about giving back, being the grunge we are and wearing the style that we feel most comfortable. If you don’t like what are doing feel free to hate but go donate to one of the many amazing homeless initiatives."
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