Loewe, a luxury fashion brand based in Spain, has pulled an outfit that critics say bears a striking resemblance to the striped pajamas prisoners in Nazi concentration camps were made to wear, CNN reports.
Last week, the brand introduced the William De Morgan capsule collection, inspired by the 19th-Century British potter and ceramicist. Some items in the collection are selling for as much as $5,000.
However, one item in the collection is considerably less expensive than the others, though still bearing a hefty price tag. The two-piece ensemble, with a price of $1,840, features a pair of pants and a blazer, with stark black and white vertical stripes. As reported by The Sun, the ensemble is called “Stripe Workwear Jacket White/Black.” According to the original post on the brand’s website, the outfit was intended to “capture a freedom of imagination.”
Indeed, before it was noticed for all the wrong reasons, designer Jonathan Anderson said that the collection “has a sort of wizardry about it, kind of like an early Harry Potter.”
However, not everyone is taking it that way, noting that the outfit calls to mind the pajamas that prisoners in Nazi concentration camps wore during the Holocaust, as pointed out by fashion industry-watcher Diet Prada.
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Unable to see anything but concentration camp uniforms in this $1,840 ensemble from @loewe ‘s William De Morgan capsule, a collection meant to “capture a freedom of imagination”. But with the particular stripe proportions and layout, uniform-style garments, and prominent chest patches, there’s not actually much left to the imagination when the resulting look is so uncannily disturbing. Fast fashion retailers like Urban Outfitters and Zara have had similar products slip through the cracks, which were generally blamed on third-party vendors and swiftly destroyed. Loewe has week-old comments calling this out on post featuring a black and white image from @britishvogue … when will we see a response? • #Loewe #jwanderson #williamdemorgan #loewewilliamdemorgan #britishvogue #capsulecollection #fashion #designer #luxury #luxurybrand #fail #insensitive #holocaust #holocaustmemorial #uniform #prisoner #stripes #stripeshirt #pajamas #history #wwii #loewebag #jwandersonconverse #jwandersonxuniqlo #fashionfail #zara #urbanoutfitters #model #news #dietprada
On the brand’s Instagram page, users were quick to take the company to task.
“This is deeply upsetting,” said one user.
“As a someone who’s [sic] family been forced wearing these during WWII – this is absolutely disgusting that someone still can’t add 1 plus 1 and decide that this is atrocious and inhuman,” said another user.
Another wondered how many people in various offices and boardrooms had to sign off on the design, without anyone ever noticing that the outfit calls to mind concentration camps. Other users wondered who on earth would wear such a thing, let alone design it.
In a statement, the brand said that it intended no ill will but has seen the error of its ways.
“It was absolutely never our intention and we apologize to anyone who might feel we were insensitive to sacred memories. The products featured have been removed from our commercial offering,” the statement said, in part.
Indeed, though the ensemble has been removed from the brand’s social media platforms as well as its website, it appears that it is still being sold via other, third-party retailers, as of this writing.
This is not the first time that a fashion brand has been accused of, intentionally or otherwise, appropriating the Holocaust into a design. Back in 2014, designer Zara pulled an outfit that prominently featured a yellow star, similar to the ones used to identify Jews in Nazi Germany. The company claimed that the star was actually inspired by those worn by sheriffs in the Old West.