It was Black Friday yesterday, a fond tradition in the Western world, a day when people stomp each other for cheap prices at Walmart. Many people in the #BlackLivesMatter movement were calling for a boycott of the day in order to call attention to the violence perpetrated on black people across the country. Just days earlier, footage revealed a cop gunning down Laquan McDonald in Chicago and a group opened fire on peaceful protestors in Minnesota.
In the middle of all this, 10.Deep dropped their new winter line, as did many other streetwear labels. But one piece stood out immediately above the rest (no, not the velour sweat suit). Called the “target hoody,” it’s exactly what it sounds like: a hoodie with a target printed on its back.
It’s admittedly cool, with techy lines looping across its fabric and some fitting typography. But as commenters were quick to point out on the label’s Instagram post, the hoodie makes its wearer an easy target for goons and the police.
Whether or not it’s actually a safe thing to wear, it had to be a statement. The hoodie (without a target) became a symbol in itself when Trayvon Matrin was shot and killed in 2012, and that simple piece of clothing a was used by the killer as a reason for his death. The connotations were too obvious for it to just be an oversight.
So we reached out to 10.Deep to ask about the purpose of the target hoody. Scott Sasso, the founder of the company and designer of the piece, says it is indeed a statement about gun violence in a country with more firearms than any other nation on Earth.
“Many find the piece disturbing,” he admits. “What is disturbing are the shootings of school children, shootings of unarmed minorities, shootings occurring daily across the country. The sweatshirt just helps bring the reality front and center when confronted with someone who is wearing it. My hope is to prompt some discussion.”
It’s a conversation starter for sure. And a flee one at that. But it’s a pretty risky one to wear on your back.