Early this morning Zara announced on Twitter that it was pulling a kids pajama top (pictured left) after many criticized it for strongly resembling the uniforms (pictured right) prisoners wore in Nazi-run concentration camps during the Holocaust. Had Zara stopped at the stripes, the top would have been a cute sailor suit with a French accent. But the company went ahead and added a golden-yellow Star of David (middle) to it. Together, it looks eerily similar to the emblems Hitler's army forced prisoners to wear to identify them as Jewish.
Zara claims that the Star of David is actually a Sheriffs badge inspired by the Old Western law enforcers. The company points out the word "Sheriff" can be faintly seen cut out in stenciled letters on the fabric. Bull. Zara is mixing metaphors here: The shirt itself is reminiscent of prison garb in general. What self-styled Sheriff is dressing up in convict's clothing? If Zara did any research at all, it would have learned that Sheriffs of that era wore three-piece suits, vests, and overcoats.
The reason Zara's defense stinks so much is that it has a rotten history of pushing racially and ethnically loaded products. In 2007, it pulled a bag embroidered with Swastikas. Then last year Zara started selling a necklace strung with gold figurine heads painted in blackface.
And just a few weeks before this most recent incident, the company found itself in another mess after receiving complaints about a new white t-shirt with the text "White is the new black" printed on it. Looks like Zara is banking on the hope that white supremacy will be making a fashionable comeback. What's next, a KKK white hood that sells for $50?
For all I know, Zara's designers might be a bunch of pre-K rug rats who've yet to learn about the plagues on humanity like Nazi-fascism, the enslavement of African peoples, and genocide. If this is the case, then I suppose we could just chalk the fashion screw-ups to ignorance.
But rather if Zara hires even minimally educated adults to design its products or inspect acquired goods from other companies, there's no legitimate excuse for these consistent mess-ups. One need only catch a glimpse of this product line to recognize the implications. It's as if Zara is making a conscious effort to infect pop culture with racist and anti-Semitic ideas by subtly dressing them up as fashion pieces. Well, they've proven not so subtle after all.
Two questions remain: Why is Zara so good at making racist clothes? And how long will that product line extend before someone calls for an investigation?