The Troubling History Of The Patches On This Zara Skirt

Photo: Courtesy of Zara.
Zara has yet another snafu on its hands: The multi-billion dollar retailer went and stamped one of its best-selling denim skirts with patches associated with the alt right movement. Yes, really; let us break it down for you.
Don't get us wrong, we love ourselves some Zara. But this particular error is one of its more unfortunate slip-ups (see: the rat dress that lead to a lawsuit). The retailer debuted a shredded, denim patchwork miniskirt on their site recently that features the Pepe the Frog meme, a product of the Internet's bountiful meme culture that started out as humorous, but quickly turned sour.
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The meme originated as a harmless character drawn by illustrator Matt Furie, who created the frog for a comic series called Boys Club, in 2005. But, during last year's presidential election cycle, the initially inoffensive character was used by the alt right (including by a certain faction of Trump supporters) to illustrate racist, anti-immigrant, nationalist, and anti-Semitic ideals. The memes became so problematic that the Anti-Defamation League officially designated it as a hate symbol: "As the meme proliferated in online venues such as 4chan, 8chan and Reddit, which have many users who delight in creating racist memes and imagery, a subset of Pepe memes would come into existence that centered on racist, anti-Semitic or other bigoted themes," according to the organization.
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time Zara has been accused of anti-Semitism. In 2014, the brand was accused of selling children's shirts that resembled concentration camp uniforms. And, of course, there was that time Zara put literal swastikas on handbags in 2007. The retailer has already yanked the skirt from its site (after Fashionista and Dazed covered the incriminating piece) with the link now being redirected to its New In section. We've reached out to Zara for comment and will update this story when we hear back.
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