It turns out that internet hate isn’t just trending, but trendy, as clothing retailer Zara released its spring line this week featuring among its various blouses and shirts a skirt with a design closely patterned off of online human ugliness symbol Pepe The Frog.
Sidestepping the fact that artist Matt Furie—whose harmless design has been ruthlessly co-opted by “online satirists” who consider “kill all Jews LOL” as the height of internet comedy—almost certainly wasn’t compensated for its use, the company’s choice to emblazon its fresh April fashions with a picture branded as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League was a weird one.
Amazingly, though, this isn’t the first, or even the second, time Zara has been blasted for releasing Nazi-themed ensembles over the years. The Spanish retailer was attacked in 2014 for releasing a shirt intended as a Western cowboy kind of thing, but which was unpleasantly reminiscent of what Jewish people were forced to wear in Hitler’s death camps. (For any Pepe fans or press secretaries in our audience, here’s a reminder, courtesy of cable news’ most all-time-frustrated chyron: Hitler gassed millions.)
— Hanna Anderson (@hannaanders0n) October 23, 2015
But hey, that one was an honest mistake. It’s not like Zara also produced purses that just straight-up had swastikas printed on them.
What the fuck?
The company’s president also apologized for that particular release, recalling the purses and saying that the swastikas weren’t part of the initial designs. (Our guess: Nazi purse elves.) Still, it’s not generally considered “a good look” when your company goes three-for-three on Third-Reich-adjacent symbolism in as many years. Zara has since pulled the skirt from its online store, but it remains to be seen whether it’s ready to throw caution into the wind and just steer into the curve, seizing some radioactive-but-open market share as the high-end clothing retailer for the basement-dwelling fascist fashionistas of the so-called “alt-right.”