28 Aug 2014

Zara withdraws 'insensitive' PJ top

6:58 am on 28 August 2014

Fashion retailer Zara has withdrawn a children's pyjama top t-shirt following a wave of of complaints it resembled clothing worn by Jewish prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.

The Zara children's pyjama which is being withdrawn.

The Zara children's pyjama which is being withdrawn. Photo: Twitter

Zara's blue-and-white striped T-shirt was designed for toddlers up to three years old and featured raking buttons on the left shoulder - with a six-pointed gold badge.

Zoom into the photo and you see the badge says "sheriff". But at the standard resolution on an online catalogue, social media users spotted it looked like the kind of yellow stars Jewish people in Nazi-occupied territory were forced to wear. Combined with the stripes - reminiscent of prison camp garb - and the Holocaust link was clear, the BBC reports.

The Spanish retailer has apologised repeatedly to Twitter users.

"The item in question has now been removed from sale. The garment was inspired by the classic Western films but we now recognise that the design could be seen as insensitive and apologise sincerely for any offence caused to our customers," the company said.

It is not the first time the fashion chain has sold questionable merchandise; in 2007 it withdrew a handbag featuring a green embroidered swastika inside a red sun.

Zara, owned by the Spanish clothing giant Inditex, is not the only fashion seller to get things wrong. Two years ago Urban Outfitters published a prototype version of a T-shirt for sale on its website. The yellow T-shirt with a similar six-pointed star also drew attention for its resemblance to a Star of David.

Footwear brands have offended on a number of occasions. Umbro apologised in 2002 for naming a shoe Zyklon, the gas used in concentration camps. Adidas said sorry for a trainer that featured shackles reminiscent of those used on slaves.

Nike admitted a mistake in naming a pair of trainers Black and Tans to commemorate St Patrick's Day. They had not appreciated the link with the British force of that name deployed to Ireland after World War I which had a reputation for brutality against civilians.

Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust, a Jewish community group which records incidents of anti-Semitism, was not impressed by the latest gaffe.

"Whatever Zara's intention, many people will be really shocked that this could ever have made it past the design stage," he said.