Popular high-street clothing retailer Zara has been accused of cultural insensitivity after selling Keffiyeh short-shorts and children’s ‘concentration camp garb’, resulting in a swift apology and stock recall.
Confusion and disgust has focussed on the ‘Sheriff’ shirt for three-year olds, which features blue and white striped fabric and a six-pointed yellow ‘Star of David’. The Local reports the garment strongly resembles the infamous ‘striped pyjamas’ which have become a symbol of remembrance for the Nazi concentration camps which were used for the systematic killing of European Jews in the 1930’s and 40’s Holocaust.
Zara, which insists the shirt was intended to be a light hearted garment with stylistic inspiration coming from “classic western films”, “honestly apologize”. Although it was formerly available for sale in Zara’s Israeli, French, Albanian and Swedish online shops but has now been pulled for sale.
This has come a month after complaints about another Zara garment, their ‘Keffiyeh’ shorts. Made of a print fabric in imitation of the arab keffiyeh scarf, an international symbol of Gazan resistance against Israel. Pro-Gaza blog Sixteen Minutes to Palestine criticised the skimpy shorts for ‘sexualising’ the keffiyeh, and reported that Zara had taken the item off their website.
This isn’t the first time Zara has misappropriated cultural symbols inappropriately for it’s merchandise. A handbag had to be pulled from sale in 2007, after a design featuring ancient Hindu good luck charm swastikas were embroidered on the cloth alongside potted plants, bicycles and giraffes.