Nordstrom Removes Pill-Themed Fashion Line From Stores, Website

By Keri Blakinger 10/12/16

The bizarre new pill-themed fashion line has sparked outrage since its debut last month. 

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Nordstrom Removes Pill-Themed Fashion Line From Stores, Website
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Nordstrom announced that it is removing Moschino's "Capsule" collection from stores and online amid backlash, according to the LA Times

In a statement to the Times, Nordstrom said, “We appreciate all the constructive feedback we received from concerned customers and ultimately decided to remove the collection from our site and the three stores where we offered it.”

Initially, Nordstrom wasn’t bothered by the bad press. 

“We’ve heard from some customers about this collection, and we’re sorry to learn they’re disappointed,” the company said in a statement to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Every customer we serve has unique tastes, which is why we offer a wide range of products. We’re one of several retailers offering this collection and we can’t speak on behalf of the designer or their intentions.”

The luxury Italian fashion house debuted its controversial “Capsule” collection at New York Fashion Week last month. 

The line features such oddities as a $950 purse in the shape of a pill bottle, a $175 black umbrella with colorful pills scattered across it, and a somewhat hideous $995 yellow T-shirt-like minidress emblazoned with fake fashion-themed prescription labels. For the less fashion-inclined, there’s even a $95 pill bottle iPhone case. 

Riffing on Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign, Moschino using the hashtag #JustSayMoschino to promote the line.

Not surprisingly, the campaign drew some pushback.

“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,” Minneapolis drug and alcohol counselor Randy Anderson wrote in a Change.org petition directed at Moschino and the line’s sellers, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. “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.”

Anderson urged the stores to remove the products from their shelves, chiding the sellers for their lack of “moral responsibility.”

“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,” he wrote. “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?”

The petition garnered about 500 signatures in the first day and was up to nearly 2,400 by Wednesday morning. 

Angry parents, addiction workers, and concerned citizens piled on in the comments, echoing Anderson’s concerns. 

“Can capitalism be any more blatantly wrong than this marketing campaign? Shame on these company CEOS and ther buyers. Don't support this American shoppers,” wrote one petition signer. “Signed, parents of loss due to opioid overdose.”

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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