Zara Shirt Draws Concentration Camp Comparisons, Criticism

A week after receiving criticism for a shirt some called racist, Zara released another shirt that's drawn comparisons to concentration camp uniforms.

Zara Shirt Draws Concentration Camp Comparisons, Criticism

​Spanish retailer Zara has released a shirt that's drawn comparisons to uniforms from concentration camps during the Holocaust, and that's led to criticism.

The shirt is striped with a six-pointed star that says "sheriff" sewn over the heart, a combination of images evocative enough for Israel-based blog +972 to write: "It's a SHERIFF shirt for your three-year-old. Obviously. What else could it be?"

As Haaretz points out, the stripes on the shirt are horizontal; whereas, the uniform stripes were generally vertical, but the outlet writes it is nevertheless "hauntingly reminiscent" of the uniforms. 

Zara has since apologized on Twitter repeatedly and in multiple languages, saying in each apology, "It was inspired by the sheriff's stars from the Classic Western films and is no longer in our stores."

As if this incident weren't damaging enough to Zara, the outcry will sound all too familiar to the retailer after this slip-up less than two weeks ago. 

WDAF"One T-shirt is stirring up a lot of trouble. Spanish retailer Zara is dealing with backlash over this shirt. It reads, 'White is the new black.'"

​​As many outlets pointed out, that shirt drew a lot of criticism on social media. It was noticed around the time of the Michael Brown shooting, and many thought it was racially insensitive. 

Plus, the outlet's so-called "swastika handbag" — a purse with a very clear swastika on the side — made headlines back in 2007 and has continued to pop up online since. Zara pulled the bag after receiving complaints. 

But Zara doesn't exactly have a monopoly when it comes to potentially anti-Semitic clothing. Urban Outfitters was in the news two years ago when it released a shirt also compared to concentration camp uniforms. 

Tack onto that criticism of a number of retailers for cultural appropriation and it becomes obvious the problem of insensitivity isn't unique to Zara. According to some critics, it's present throughout the fashion world. 

In an op-ed for The Business of Fashion, fashion writer Jason Campbell argues it's a diversity problem: "​As the lack of racial diversity continues to plague the industry, misguided decisions ... are often taken because fashion's boardrooms and editorial meetings are missing people who could bring alternative perspectives." 

Even one of Zara's apologies rubbed people the wrong way, with its Israeli branch reportedly promising to "exterminate" the shirt.

This video contains an image from Getty Images.