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This month saw Italian fashion brand Diesel unveil Hate Couture: a typically tongue-in-cheek campaign tackling bullying. The campaign included outspoken celebrities (such as rapper Nicki Minaj and actress Bella Thorne), all wearing garments featuring verbal abuse they have received online. Minaj will also launch a capsule collection in partnership with Diesel. From October, shoppers at select Diesel stores will be able to customize shirts and denim with hateful comments they have received. Proceeds will be donated to Only The Brave, an anti-bullying charity.

Diesel is bringing ancient advice – love your enemies – into the 21st century. At the same time it taps into the celebrity trend of stars clapping back (yes, we feel old typing that) by embracing the hate they’ve received online or controversy related to feuds. Rapper Cardi B, for instance, posted a photo of her mini-me following her altercation with Nicki Minaj, while Selena Gomez stepped out in an ‘ugly’ hair accessory following designer Stefano Gabbana’s insult.

Two takeaways to inspire your own clap backs 👏

- Fashion brand launches celebrity collection. Old news, right? However Diesel’s clever twist makes this not only a collection with a purpose, but also enables ‘normal’ customers to engage with the initiative on a deeply personal level themselves. Is there an important, relevant issue that your brand can rally people (of all follower counts) around? 

- Hate Couture follows Diesel’s fake-counterfeit ‘Deisel’ store. Many brands struggle to engage with the relentless irreverence of online youth culture. Diesel embraces it. But don’t think this isn’t relevant if your brand is not as edgy as Diesel. What both initiatives have in common is a great understanding — and deep respect for — customers’ lifestyles. That should always be your starting point, rather than trying to jump on some bandwagon!

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