Zara, a Spanish fashion company, made the decision to pull a controversial shirt for children which they say was “inspired by the sheriff’s stars from the Classic Western films” but caused outrage from many customers who claim that the shirt is actually hauntingly similar to World War II concentration camp outfits.
The so-called “concentration camp” shirt was produced in Turkey and became available online to the Spanish retailer’s Albanian, French, Israeli and Swedish online stores, but only remained available for several hours, as it was quickly removed.
The shirt features a blue and white horizontal stripe, with a six-pointed gold star placed prominently on the right shoulder. The gold star, Zara claims, is obviously supposed to be based upon the gold star badge warn by sheriffs, and even features the word “Sheriff” within it. Although concentration camp prison garb typically featured horizontal stripes, the similarities were still enough to spark outrage. Furthermore, although some sheriff badges contain six points, many contain five or seven points, and many are questioning the choice of the stripes, wondering which sheriffs of the Wild West were known to wear such garb?
One Facebook user, referring referring to the cyanide-based gas used by the Nazis to slaughter more than 4 million Jews during the Holocaust, posted to Zara’s Facebook page, asking: “After your concentration camp tee shirt I was wondering when is your ZYKLON B perfume coming out?” The user added: “For those wanting to smell more like the gas chambers?”
Zara’s in Israel then made matters worse by issuing a statement that the “concentration camp” shirt would now be “exterminated.” The term “exterminated” is often used to refer to the Nazi’s genocidal practices, and it does seem to be a rather odd choice of words for the Israeli office to use during an already sensitive time. There has been a recent increase in anti-Semitic violence worldwide due to the war between Israel and Gaza, and the fact that the shirt was stitched in Turkey only seemed to add insult to injury.
And this is not the first time Zara has had to pull clothing from its shelves due to inappropriateness. The company recently had to pull a shirt that read “White is the new black” after social media users tore the company apart for perceived racism. And back in 2007, the retailer was forced to pull a purse from their line and apologize, due to the fact that, amid the embroidered flowers and bicycles, the bag featured four bright green swastikas at each corner.
What do you think? Is the “concentration camp” shirt a genuine mistake or a deliberate insult?
[Images via Huffington Post, Daily Mail and Reuters]