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Oh, Good: Zara Removed That Offensive Pepe the Frog Skirt From Its Site

Zara's Pepe-embroidered skirt; Image: Zara

Zara’s Pepe-embroidered skirt; Image: Zara

Today’s edition of “Jeez, what creative team OKed that?” spotlights fast-fashion retailer Zara, which, let’s face it, doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to not accidentally manufacturing hate-symbol-emblazoned clothing.

Zara’s most recent snafu comes in the form of a shredded jean skirt, a piece from its “Festival Collection.” The line is filled with denim items embroidered with images of animals — peacocks, cougars and, in the skirt’s case, some very offensive amphibians. It’s impossible to deny the resemblance between the skirt’s cartoonish patches and alt-right symbol Pepe the Frog.

Back in 2005, illustrator Matte Furie created Pepe as a character for his comic series. Unfortunately, the smug-looking frog has since been co-opted by extremists and used as a symbol of racist and anti-Semitic ideologies. (The Anti-Defamation League officially declared it a hate symbol last September.)

Still, as the Anti-Defamation League points out on its website, context matters: “It is important to examine use of the meme only in context. The mere fact of posting a Pepe meme does not mean that someone is racist or white supremacist. However, if the meme itself is racist or anti-Semitic in nature, or if it appears in a context containing bigoted or offensive language or symbols, then it may have been used for hateful purposes.” Of course, that’s not stopping social media users from dragging Zara over its clueless, careless design.

In an attempt to mull things over, the Inditex-owned brand has removed the skirt from its site and issued the following statement: “The skirt is part of the limited Oil-On-Denim collection which was created through collaborations with artists and is only available in selected markets,” a Zara spokesperson told British Vogue. “The designer of the skirt is Mario de Santiago, known online as Yimeisgreat. Mario explores social interactions through his work and in his own words: ‘The idea came from a wall painting I drew with friends four years ago.’ There is absolutely no link to the suggested theme.”

The Cut cites this incident as evidence that one should never shop the festival-fashion section, we say it’s time for Zara to slow down its manufacturing processes so as to avoid selling anti-Semitic clothing, copying indie artists’ designs, sewing rats into coat seams, etc.

[ via Vogue UK ]