We’ve had enough of Dolls Kill. It’s time to trade trash for treasure with these six independent businesses.
( Zayna Sheikh / Rowdy Magazine Graphic Designer)
Attention all goth superstars, punk rockers, and rave royalty everywhere! If you haven’t heard, Dolls Kill has been dumped down the canceled toilet.
The online boutique has built up an extensively questionable history over the last few years. This includes stealing designs from smaller creators, insensitive clothing, and the owner’s problematic social media posts. Lots to unpack here.
In 2018, Nicole O, owner of Droolball, shared an Instagram post accusing Dolls Kill of stealing her T-shirt design.
Dolls Kill didn’t even put a lot of effort into concealing it; The shirts are identical.
When confronted about this gross lack of professionalism, Dolls Kill made good use of the block button and swept it under the rug.
Dolls Kill dug their thieving claws into Uzumaki Cepeda’s brand, as well. Uzumaki was contacted by Dolls Kill for a collaboration and didn’t respond. Dolls Kill then took it upon itself to steal her distinct art style for a window display.
After being caught red-handed, Dolls Kill claimed that it never heard of Uzumaki and had never seen her work. They never publicly apologized or paid Uzumaki.
When Dolls Kill does sell original designs, they’re not always appropriate.
Dolls Kill has listed T-shirts on its website with insensitive phrases such as “Goth Is White” and “Dead Girls Can’t Say No.” How tone-deaf do you have to be to exclude POC from a culture that rejects the idea of exclusion? As well as promoting some bizarre, rape culture perpetuating, necrophiliac idea?
Full offense, Dolls Kill: that’s disgusting.
To make matters worse, Dolls Kill continued to ride the wave of racial insensitivity on the owner’s Instagram.
In June, Shoddy Lynn, the company’s founder and owner, posted a pro-police photo on Instagram in the midst of anti-police brutality protests.
Many Dolls Kill customers are in support of these protests, which makes sense considering many of their punk and anarchist ideologies.
She then issued a lackluster apology video in which she said, “it was never my intention to cause any pain, disrespect or lack of support for the [Black Lives Matter] movement.”
Many were quick to point out, however, that the video sounded more like a scripted company statement rather than a heartfelt apology. Dolls Kill needs to do better.
One of Dolls Kill’s appeals is being one-of-a-kind. It attracts customers because it’s not exactly easy to find clothing tailored to a specific subculture. With Dolls Kill being exposed as unprofessional, as well as a fast-fashion brand, it’s left an alternative fashion power vacuum.
But don’t worry! There are plenty of independent brands prepared to fill it.
1) Gothic Lamb — Home of the Melanated Misfits
Inspired by prominent gothic brands like Disturbia and Killstar, Gothic Lamb’s mission is to bring better representation to the fashion table. This black-owned brand features some fire graphic tees and spits in the face of underrepresentation.
2) Mercredi — Made with Hate
Mercredi’s clothing is designed and manufactured in the home of fashion: Paris. If you’re looking for a moody, experimental vibe, then Mercredi is the shop for you!
3) Cyberdog — Rave New World
If you’re looking for cutting-edge, funky clothing, Cyberdog is here to deliver your very own fabric acid trip. Scroll through their collection of time-traveling techno realness and prepare to enter a rave wonderland!
4) Ota-Q Apparel — Anyone Can Be Kawaii
Whimsically cute and serving playful vibes, Ota-Q is perfect for J-fashion and kawaii culture enthusiasts. Ota-Q is exceptionally inclusive of all body types and defies the outdated idea that you must be small in order to be cute.
5) Love, Vera — Born Out Of Love
Love, Vera prioritizes community within the lingerie business, hiring black talent of all shades to represent their brand. They offer bodysuits, lingerie sets, robes and more intimate wear to boost your confidence.
6) Badmouthed Bruja — For The Modern Witch
Bring out your inner witch with Badmouthed Bruja’s handmade enamel pins. Made with incredible detail, these artistic accessories will abracadabra some color into your life (and your keychain).
While it may seem like just clothing styles to some, alternative subcultures are rooted in ethics and social justice. From the moment Dolls Kill strayed away from that, it betrayed their customer base and lost a great deal of respect.
When exploring fashion and expressing yourself via clothing, be conscious of where your money is going and watch out for predatory brands while you’re at it.
Christelle Pierre is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. When not writing, one can find Christelle holding a YA novel in one hand and an iced coffee in the other. She can be reached on Instagram @x.hristelle