TOMS RIVER, NJ – Kohls has released their new line of Black Lives Matter inspired diversity message shirts and they are now available for purchase in select stores nationwide and online. Kohls has faced some backlash over the new clothing line, which was launched by a Milwaukee based printing company. Kohl’s has partnered with a Milwaukee, Wisconsin based t-shirt company, Cream City Print Lounge to produce a new line of “Black Lives Matter” inspired clothing and merchandise. The company says the new line will not feature the words “Black Lives Matter”, but will include prints and designs used by Cream City Print Lounge in their other “Black Lives Matter” designs, but without the BLM wording.
“The company recently created a new Diversity and Inclusion framework, which addresses three pillars: Our People, Our Customers, and Our Community. With regard to the pillar around Our Customers, we strive to celebrate our differences and help more customers see themselves reflected in our brands,” said Jen Johnson, Kohl’s SVP of communication. “Along this journey, we’re working to offer culturally-relevant products, designs and storytelling that are meaningful to diverse customers.”
With that direction, Kohl’s partnered with the Milwaukee based company that does sell a complete line of Black Lives Matter clothing, including a version of the Kohls shirt that says “Black Lives Matter” on the reverse side.
“We partnered with locally-owned Cream City Print Lounge to bring a limited-time assortment of t-shirts to select Kohl’s stores and Kohls.com at the end of September,” Johnson said. “This collection includes many designs that feature statements like “together we can create change” and “Peace Love Equality”. This is one example of t-shirt assortments Kohl’s has introduced to support the many customers and communities we serve, including an assortment of Pride graphic tees for customers to show their support of the LGBTQ+ community, and a collection celebrating Hispanic Heritage.”
The new line of clothing is based on designs previously created by Cream City Print Lounge that featured the words, “Black Lives Matter”, but with the messaging altered to be more socially acceptable for Kohl’s department store clientele.
Snopes couldn’t disprove our story, but nevertheless said it was a “mixture” of facts.
When Kohl’s announced the new line of clothing, the company used a photo of a woman wearing the Cream City print below.
When we visited the Cream City Print website, we saw the same shirt design on one of their models and the back of the very same shirt did say “Black Lives Matter”.
The above shirt, back and front represents the exact same shirt Kohl’s used to promote their new line of clothing. The Kohls promo photo only showed the front of the shirt. A visit to Cream City Printing showed both sides of the shirt.
Things then went viral after a Twitter user Elizabeth K. tweeted the following, “I just called Kohl’s and they confirmed that they will be selling BLM merchandise. I asked them if they were going to sell back the blue and they said no not at this time. This is a shame and they will no longer have me as a customer.”
“At a time when there is a clear call to action to do more to address inequities for People of Color, Kohl’s is committed to actions that support long-term sustainable progress in supporting these organizations,” Kohl’s said in a subsequent press release. “We look forward to sharing more of our plans and actions in the future to enhance diversity and inclusivity in our workplace, in our business and in the communities we serve.”
Snopes claims this statement was a falsehood, but the photo above of the shirt Kohl’s promoted and the next photo that shows the back of that very same shirt, shows that the shirt pictured by Kohl’s did in fact have the words Black Lives Matter on the backside.
Regardless of the controversy, today marks the day that Kohl’s department stores is scheduled to roll out their line of Black Lives Matter inspired merchandise, created by a print shop in Milwaukee that prints Black Lives Matter merchandise. Below is a photo from Cream City Print Lounge of people wearing shirts with the Kohl’s featured design on Black Lives Matter merchandise.