A fashion designer in South Africa, Daniel Ngobeni, has apologized to people upset by his rope ties that look like nooses. Dubbed “Daniels Rope Ties,” the collection of rope ties has been described on the product’s Facebook page as “African rope wear” for “all genders.” There are photos on the Facebook page showing models wearing the ties around their necks.
“We Proud ourselves in bringing tomorrow’s fashion today,” a post on the product’s Facebook page reads. “Daniels rope ties style is unique, simple and fashionable.”
People are however outraged by the rope ties, linking them to racism, lynching and suicide. “Seriously what is the thought here. Turning lynching imagery into fashion? Who’s idea was it to put a noose around a black man’s neck and call it art? Yeah, no,” one person wrote on Twitter.
“Suicide rope now it has formed a tie,” another wrote.
“This person doesn’t know what KKK is unless they consume American media,” one Twitter user added.
After backlash, Ngobeni explained what inspired him to design the ties. “The rope tie are my work and the motive is to change the past act and the mindset that when people see a rope all they think is suicidal or lynching,” he said. “I know the history and I’m not here to offend any family been a victim in the days.”
“We need to change that the rope is not only used to take people’s lives but also something good can come out of the same object(rope),” he said. “I’m not promoting suicidal or saying people should hang themself, those who like the idea will understand and ofcos to some it will look a as bad idea.” (sic)
The 26-year-old, who said he has no plans of changing his design, added: “The USA journalists has been in touch and I explained this work.”
“Past is past and something need to change in the new Generation. It is unfortunate people has been killed by a noose but I am and I’m not evil.”
The Polokwane, South Africa, resident further explained to Blavity that he just wanted to create something new in the fashion industry.
“I thought, what is something new, that has never been done in fashion,” he said. “I asked myself, ‘Can the same rope that has been used to take someone’s life, can it be used for a better purpose?’” he explained. “Can the same object be used in a different way?’ So I thought of the tie.”
For now, Ngobeni’s rope ties are trending on Facebook and Twitter although many are not happy with his design.