Fast-fashion retailer Zara Wednesday pulled a child’s shirt after a public outcry over its close resemblance to Nazi concentration camp uniforms.
The retailer, owned by Spanish apparel company Inditex, apologized and said the design was meant to resemble garb from the American Wild West.
The retailer has been down this road before: In 2007 it had to pull bags decorated with swastikas. But other retailers are not immune. Earlier this year, fast-fashion retailer H&M also withdrew a shirt after complaints of its anti-semitic imagery, and Urban Outfitters a couple of years ago also faced a similar controversy.
These faux pas are serious stumbles for retailers — there is really no excuse for a design with clearly problematic imagery to get past any retailer’s production process — and it's all the worse when it appears to be a pattern. It's Zara's production process itself that may be the problem, says Fortune’s Claire Zillman. According to her, it holds a production speed so intense that, while it’s perfected for getting designs onto store racks in record time, it allows for serious design problems to slip by.
Whether these incidents are due to someone’s intention or not, eventually the public will start to believe that Zara lacks the care to at least evaluate potentially offensive imagery before it appears in their stores and on its site.