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Orders surge for trans designer after Target pulls products

Orders surge for trans designer after Target pulls products
Shoppers queue outside Target during Black Friday sales in Chicago, Illinois, US on Nov 25, 2022.
PHOTO: Reuters

LONDON - Transgender designer Erik Carnell has seen a surge in demand for his pins, prints, stickers and T-shirts after US retailer Target Corp pulled his products amid a backlash by some customers to its Pride collection, he said on Thursday (May 25).

Target's Pride collection included more than 2,000 products from clothes and music to home furnishings, and while several are under review the only ones removed so far from its website and stores are from Carnell's brand Abprallen.

Target said this year's Pride collection led to an increase in confrontations between customers and employees and incidents of Pride merchandise being thrown on the floor.

In messages on the website and Etsy store for Abprallen, Carnell said the volume of orders was such that he had to temporarily stop taking new orders.

"Your support during this extremely difficult time means more than I can express," Carnell wrote on the brand's Etsy page, which advertises: "Accessories for the loud, proud, and colourful". Abprallen, which means "ricochet" in German, is Carnell's favourite word.

Screenshots and posts on social media show that Target previously sold three Abprallen items: A US$25 (S$34) slogan sweater with the words "cure transphobia not trans people", an $18 "too queer for here" tote bag, and a "we belong everywhere" fanny pack.

London-based Carnell, a gay trans man, said on Instagram that he did not know if Target would begin selling the items again and that he would know more over the coming days.

"I hope that none of Target's retail employees are the victims of further threats and that none of them come to any harm," he wrote.

Backlash on social media was mainly targeted at Abprallen products that were not sold at Target, some of which contain images of pentagrams and horned ram skulls that some people associate with Satan worship.

Products sold on Abprallen's Etsy shop included a pin featuring the slogan "Satan Respects Pronouns" for 5.20 pounds (S$9), and an 8 pound enamel pin with the slogan "Trans Healthcare Now".

"I am, believe it or not, not a Satanist," Carnell said on Instagram, responding to reports and social media posts that labelled him as "Satan-loving".

Etsy, an online marketplace where people sell home-made products, did not reply to requests for comment.

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