Toby Milstein, BC’14 and EIC of Her Campus Barnard, like many of us, was extremely upset by the shooting in Aurora this summer. Instead of just posting a Facebook status about her horror and sitting non-comprehendingly, however, she took action and started a campaign, combining politics with her love for fashion. She designed and produced a pendant with the slogan “Wear It, Don’t Bear It,” and began selling them for $25, with 100% of profits going to Bereaved Parents of the USA. Toby’s explanation for the design is as follows:
Though I am a native New Yorker and was not personally impacted by the massacre [in Aurora], I felt the sorrow as if it were my own and wanted to do something about it. In the fashion and art world, guns have been a symbol of status and power. Immediately we can think of Andy Warhol’s pop art guns. More recently, we can see our 21st century’s fetishization of guns in jewelry, such as Jennifer Fisher’s gun pistol necklace, and with celebrities like Whitney Cummings and Rihanna sporting gun necklaces. Moreover, in 2008, Chanel famously produced very popular shoes with the heel as a gun that Madonna wore to a movie premiere. I struggled to grapple with the dichotomy of this controversial object being a fashion statement and an actual weapon for human destruction. With this I rationalized: it is one thing to don a gun as a fashion/art symbol and it is entirely different to use it for what it was intended for–as a killing machine…hence the “Wear it: Don’t Bear it” motto. The motto also functions to say that we should wear and promote the latter statement: Don’t Bear Guns.
Following the Connecticut shooting, this pendant has unfortunately become relevant again and she has been selling more of them. The campaign is becoming quite popular and is an inspiring sign of what us–even as college students–can do–even during finals. Yesterday, she opened a store on Etsy for the pendants, and the first customer was Ashley Bush, niece of George W. She already has support of Billy Mann and Dr. Merry H. Tisch. In just 48 hours, Toby made nearly $2,000 for the Bereaved Parents of the USA. Though little can be done to fully heal the damage from this horrifying event, it’s good to know that someone in Morningside Heights is taking big steps to help as much as she can.