With 173 lives lost at time of writing in the terrible aftermath of Black Saturday, this country’s worst bushfire disaster – and that figure predicted, unfortunately, to rise – I have not felt much inclined towards posting about fashion (focussing more on Twitter). It is nevertheless heartening to see the outpouring of generosity in response to this tragedy which in two days has helped raise $30million – not including corporate and government donations. And notably, the response from the sector closest to this blog – retail. Pictured above is the design for a special Black Saturday Bushfire Appeal T-shirt which has been created by Australian e-tailer REMO, 100percent of net proceeds from which will go to the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, in addition to 10percent of all net REMO merchandise sales from today until midnight AEST Wednesday 18 February. After some trenchant criticism of the original design, which included a sad face and small flame over VIC (the flame being one of REMO's best-known T-shirt logos), REMO founder Remo Giuffre, who is en route back to Oz after attending the TED conference in California, settled for this plainer graphic.
The original REMO Black Saturday T-shirt design:
Wrote Dave Lord from Loganholme on the REMO website:
"TACKY! TACKY! TACKY!!!!
This is not an opportunity for SELF PROMOTION! You've lost me.... I won't be back"
While Gavin Jowitt from Sydney noted:
"Sorry, but I find this particularly bad taste. This is not a merchandising or marketing opportunity! Asking customers to donate directly to the Red Cross Appeal would be a far more appropriate response rather than celebrating it on a T-Shirt."
And Sarah from West Preston:
"The Black Saturday T-shirt design would have been somewhat more poignant with out the sad face.... it just makes it a little tacky."
According to Carolyne Thornton however:
"I don't think it's in bad taste, it is a way of showing support for those victims and whenever you wear the t-shirt will remind yourself and others of the support these victims need. It is no different than attending a football game whose proceeds go to the same benefit."
"Maybe we were wrong" conceded Giuffre in one of his responses, adding separately:
"tend to agree ... removed smile and flame ... that's what happens when you mix exhaustion and alcohol with the designomatic"
Bettina Liano, meanwhile, has donated 1000 garments to the Salvation Army.
Other donations from much bigger retail players include:
Kmart ($100,000 to the Salvation Army and $500 Kmart vouchers to families which have lost homes)
David Jones ($500,000 donation of DJs gift cards, in addition to the profit from all 37 DJs stores on Thursday 12th February).
Myer (will match customer contributions up to $500,000)
Coles (all profits from Coles 750 national stores on Friday 13th February)
At a time when retail was already doing it tough, bravo.