Fashion brand responds after outfit draws comparisons to concentration camp uniforms
A luxury fashion brand has apologized after receiving backlash over an outfit that many compared to the uniforms worn by concentration camp prisoners during the Holocaust.
"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,'" Diet Prada wrote, along with side-by-side photos comparing the striped outfit with images of Nazi concentration camp victims.
Loewe issued an apology on its website on Friday, explaining that the clothes had been removed from "commercial offering."
"It was brought to our attention that one of our looks featured in a magazine and part of our Arts and Crafts ceramicist William De Morgan could be misconstrued as referring to one of the most odious moments in the history of mankind," the statement read. "It was absolutely never our intention and we apologize to anyone who might feel we were insensitive to sacred memories."
Despite the outfit being retracted, many shared their dissatisfaction with the fact that the black-and-white striped apparel was marketed in the first place.
"This is so beyond offensive," one Instagram user wrote. "It is blatantly symbolic of the Holocaust."
"Unbelievable why anyone would ever try to emulate this look, and not see the horrific parallels. This is truly a design that needs to be left alone forever, it’s never going to be ok," another commented.
Loewe is not the first fashion brand in recent years to receive criticism for clothing reminiscent of the Holocaust.
In 2014, the Spanish-owned retailer Zara stirred controversy after selling a blue-and-white striped shirt featuring a yellow "sheriff" star on the front. The striped outfit — and the yellow star, which many said was similar to the yellow stars forcibly worn by Jewish people living in Nazi-controlled territory — was originally designed for toddlers.
Two years earlier, Urban Outfitters was also criticized for selling a yellow T-shirt featuring a similarly shaped star. Some were specifically outraged that the outfit came on sale during the same week as Holocaust Remembrance Day.
"We find this use of symbolism to be extremely distasteful and offensive, and we are outraged that your company would make this product available to your customers," Barry Morrison, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote in a letter to Urban Outfitters at the time.