Clothing brand faces criticism for using ‘mental illness as marketing gimmick’


Edenrobe, a clothing brand based in Pakistan, has invited criticism for a new marketing campaign for their winter collection, titled ‘Knot the Blues’.

The collection builds upon themes of mental illness and depression in order to market clothes.

One of the posters says: “Stuck with my depression, there was no way out. I had to sever bonds with this illness; I had to #knottheblues into submission.”

Activist Urooj Zia said that the brand tries to “co-opt folks’ trauma and pain” in order to “market badly-designed and terribly-constructed garbage.”

“Who thought that this was an acceptable thing to do?”

Social worker Marriya Malik called out the brand for using “mental illness as a tool to sell products”. She added that this profit catering mindset seems to overlook “basic empathy” and the marketing team responsible needed to evaluate this “sick” campaign.

“It is important to look down on the use of sensitive and overwhelming topics, such as trauma, depression, religion and minorities’ rights etc. as a tool to meet capitalistic objectives,” she added.

Another user, Anum Thanvi, blamed a mindset clouded with privilege for such an oversight.

“Firstly learn marketing, secondly learn empathy and thirdly learn some basic human decency. Mental illness isn’t for you to use as a marketing gimmick.”

Atiya Abbas, producer and member of the feminist collective Girls at Dhabas highlighted the tendency of marketing agencies to capitalise on “hot topics”.

“And then every clothing brand is all about women empowerment so they jump on the bandwagon with NO understanding and the decisions are mostly taken by men.”