Is Dolls Kill Ethical?

It doesn’t matter how old are you, what color is your skin or how you look, it is your choice to style yourself with the clothing of your choice. But in doing so, you may have a question about how they are sourced or what type of message or statement you are sending to others by wearing them. Ethicality along with sustainably sourced wear keeps your styling cleaner and your confidence higher. And as clothing brand, Dolls Kill, how much they are keeping up with that so far?

Founded in 2011, Dolls Kill is a San Francisco-based online boutique with “a rebellious spirit and attitude, mixed with a bit of punk rock, goth, glam, and festival fashion”. Once they were named the Fastest Growing Retailer but soon fall short with aroused controversy regarding their ethical choices and what grounds they are standing on beneath the rebellious spirit they showcase. Read thoroughly to find out if Dolls Kill is Ethical.

Key Takeaways

  • Dolls Kill is a San Francisco-based online boutique with “a rebellious spirit and attitude, mixed with a bit of punk rock, goth, glam, and festival fashion”.
  • The most controversial incident to Dolls Kill is their owner supporting police solidarity and making statements against the protestors in #BlackLivesMatter(BLM).
  •  Dolls Kill is accused of stealing designs from independent designers and small brands without their permission and providing incentives in exchange.

Product Variations

Dolls Kill’s product varies based on six dolls named: Coco, Kandi, Mercy, Willow, Darby, and Mia. They are branded as individual characters with unique lifestyles and dresses among them.

Product variations
  • Koko: Coco’s wardrobe is very girly and cute, filled with pink patterns, sparkling rhinestones, and lavish furs- an edgier version of Legally Blonde.
  • Kandi: Kandi is their raver girl who lives for neon lights, smoke machines, and electronic music. She brands herself with platform shoes, iridescent outfits littered with cutouts and lots of sequins.
  • Mercy: Mercy is their cold-hearted goth witch who rocks an all-black strappy wardrobe with underlying supernatural themes.
  • Willow: Willow is their bohemian/hippie babe who advocates for world peace and a good time. Her style features unique patterns with bright colors and lots of tye-dye.
  • Darby: Darby is a punk-rock princess who wears lots of plaids, ripped jeans, and chains.
  • Mia: Mia, is the self-obsessed influencer who is always on top of the trends and rocking the latest streetwear fashion. Her closet is filled with lots of neutral tones and chic accessories.

Is Dolls Kill Ethical?

Dolls Kill is well known for its controversial, alternative, and edgy collection of clothing styles. But it is important to note that the ethics of any brand relies on different points of view and it varies one to one. To judge a brand in terms of ethics you should consider below factors such as:

Labor practices

Remember to note that Dolls Kill is an online-based e-commerce type clothing store. They do produce the products on their own which they sell. They outsource them from third-party manufacturers. It is important to note that many current and ex-employees of Dolls Kill have expressed their outrage by complaining that Dolls Kill underpays their employees.

Also, those third-party manufacturers often don’t bother to implement minimal labor laws and tend to like offering employees low wages, forcing workers to work for long hours under unsafe conditions, or depriving them of their fundamental rights to labor.


As the world is moving towards diversifying sustainability fast than before, majority of the brands are moving towards sustainable, eco-friendlier products. But for Dolls Kill, there is no information on the declaration from Dolls Kill authority that they use eco-friendly materials, any initiative for reducing waste or implementing recycling programs for their clothing and other wearable products. Their products are more likely fast fashioning.


One important characteristic of any ethical-oriented brand is that they are more express-oriented in terms of their product sourcing, supply chain, and materials details. Since Dolls Kills showcases themselves as an alternative enthusiastic fashion brand since their commencing journey they have no visible proof of sharing details or any kind of transparency regarding their business model or intentions.

Social issues

Clothing brands are more audience-engaging than other types of business. That means they tend to give instant feedback or support to many social issues or how they do marketing for their products for customer attraction, what type of design they implement on their clothes, do they represent any good cause, etc. sets the good standard of a brand among mass people.

Dolls Kills always expressed it as an alternative, aesthetic, and represented more dark gothic typed products. These products were often alleged to hold an abusive and unethical message which sparked various controversies among its users and followers rather than supporting any positive social issue.

Designs Legitimacy

Big brands have gained popularity by introducing top notched unique designs that are well-accepted by customers. Designs are the identity of a brand along with bear a symbol of the intellectual creativity of the designer. Copying or stealing someone’s design without their permission or collaboration is non-ethical.  There is a proven allegation against Dolls Kill for stealing independent designers’ work from all around the world. Though after claiming they have ignored them in a repeated manner and false statements.

Controversial Issues with Dolls Kills

Since its inception, Dolls Kill has been the subject of numerous controversies. Most of the allegations are for their alternative designs which one way or another sends a negative message to society. Some of them are mentioned below:

controversial-issues-with-dolls kills
Controversial issues with dolls kills

Racist Ideology

The most controversial issue created by Dolls Kill was when Shoddy Lynn, the owner of Dolls Kill posted a pro-police statement on social media by saying ‘Direct Action in its glory’ with a bunch of cops posed guarding in front of a Dolls Kill establishment. While many companies took to social media to stand in solidarity with the movement, Dolls Kill’s owner chose not to address the movement in a positive light. There is also incident like using black cultures, such as hairstyles such as dreadlocks or cornrows, without acknowledging the historical significance or context behind these designs.

LGBTQ+ Issues

Dolls Kill has been accused of its mistreatment of LGBTQ+ communities. A few customers have expressed concern that the clothes and marketing methods implemented by Dolls Kill causing difficulties to find and shopping for LGBTQ+. As per them, Dolls Kill hasn’t tried enough to promote and market LGBTQ+ products.

Body Shaming

One common allegation against Dolls Kill is their unrealistic definition of beauty. They market alternative types of clothes which sometimes are bizarre to fit and express any intention at all. By their ‘One size fits all’ advertisement they body shammed to people who are bigger in shape and need respective sizes.

Also, certain clothing designs include pictures or text that possess negative meanings and images of the body’s shape or size. Many critics believe these messages create a negative society of body shaming and a sense of exclusion.

Romanticizing Abusive Culture

One of the main reasons Dolls Kill has always been criticized is the messages they hold for sensitive issues like rape and other mental health issues.  Selling shirts like “Dead Girls Can’t Say No” brought them immediate backlash as the community started boycotting its products. Because of showing disgrace to the victims of rape and making fun of it. As for mental health, its soap range claims things like “Social anxiety smells like a list of pre-planned excuses”, all triggers for patients with actual disorders issues.

Using Native Wearing as Halloween Costume

Dolls Kill has been criticized for selling clothes and accessories that evoke Native American or Indigenous cultures, like headdresses and dreamcatchers as Halloween costumes. In the worst scenario when one customer mailed them regarding this fact they replied by saying ‘Take a chill pill’.

Stolen Design

On many occasions, Dolls Kill had taken designs from others without even asking or providing financial exchange. Melianj, an independent designer whose works are creative and sustainable complained about it by saying she hadn’t the financial stability to go legally against Dolls Kill. There are numerous other obligations of stealing design against Dolls Kill. Most of them are independent designers and small brands.

Sexual Influence on The Children’s

Dolls Kill markets teen girls clothing too. In the process, they are alleged with using explicit images and wordings in children’s clothing. It is happening in adult clothing too. On many occasions, the image has been used where girls are wearing explicit and intimating dresses and expressions.  In addition, they’ve offered products with messages that could be read as encouraging or demeaning sexual violence.

Recent Developments Undertaken By Dolls Kills

By addressing the controversy that has been aroused in recent times, Dolls Kill has taken some positive intended steps to gain mass audiences’ faith. To restore their popularity and responding unethical labor law practices, they have launched the ‘Dolls Kill Cares’ program which they believe will improve the working conditions.

They have also taken steps to bring inclusivity for cloth sizes. They used to have a campaign like ‘One Size for All’, especially targeting concert lovers which they reconfigured with size variations.

Dolls Kill has responded to the accusations of cultural appropriation, pledging to be better and more aware of their designs for products and marketing strategies. They have tried to partner with designers and artists of diverse backgrounds by giving it the name ‘Dolls Kill Activism’.

There is some other claimed initiative by Dolls Kill authority to prevent the backlash they are facing but critics doubt them by calling it not enough or often as just a stunt to gain popularity again.


1. Is it bad to buy from Dolls Kill?

For Dolls Kill, there have been poor rating when it comes to ethical standings and various controversy has aroused over time and as it seems Dolls Kills is solely responsible for these allegations.

2. Why is it called Dolls Kill?

Shoddy Lynn, co-founder of Dolls Kill had chosen the name as she liked the short two wordings, one very soft and one very hard.

3. What kind of style are Dolls Kill?

Dolls Kill is a fashion retailer that specializes in goth and punk clothing for young women. They also offer similar sky-high heels, cute dresses, unique tops, sexy skirts, funky pants, and dope accessories.

Final Thoughts

People don’t wear clothes just to cover themselves. Well, it is the basic reason but there again, it is the 21st century and people tend to wear whatever they wish for. Cloths are personality-defying as much as they define style. But as long as you inherit morality within yourself, you must be very careful of what are you wearing, what are their background stories and what statement they will deliver once you wear them out in the crowd.

For Dolls Kill, as long as they influence its customers to be rebellious, funky, and gothic that’s just fine but standing down from the high ground of morality is not expected from a big brand like Dolls Kill. They can live up to an era of alternatively-designed clothing but not too far if they continue to spread hate and cruelty.


Todd Smith is a trained ecologist with five years of experience in environmental conservation and sustainability. He has a deep passion for promoting sustainable practices and has developed a thorough understanding of the natural world and its complex interconnections.

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