Coming from Miuccia Prada, a designer who says "ugliness" is both "attractive" and "exciting," we definitely did not see this one coming. For Miu Miu's pre-fall 2017 collection, the Italian designer was inspired by two of our favorite themes: New York and nostalgia. And even though we fell in love with the furry hats and heavily embroidered varsity letter jackets, one of the many patches emblazoned across the collection is being misconstrued. Shoppers in Canada at a Holt Renfrew pointed out that the yellow "John" patch, a five-point star, looks oddly close to that of the six-pointed Star of David, which Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust.
After several shoppers spotted the pieces at the Canadian department store, they alerted blogger Jewish Chick via Instagram about what they'd interpreted to be offensive. "I was shocked and saddened that a brand such as Miu Miu (the sister brand of Prada) would bring such a design to production and a store such as Holt would then turn around and sell it without questions," the blogger told Jewish Breaking News. "While the yellow star is with 5 points versus 6, it clearly brings back horrific images of the stars Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust and is an indirect spit in the face to the 6 million Jews that were massacred by the Nazis, as well as those that survived the horrific ordeals of WW2."
When we reached out to Miu Miu for comment, the brand's senior vice president of marketing and communications, Preia Narendra, returned our request within minutes. "It was not Miu Miu’s intent in any way to make any political or religious statement, and we apologize for any offence [sic] that may have been taken. Kindly note that effective immediately these items will be removed from the collection."
But, it wasn't lost on Jewish Chick's followers that the clothes went through several teams of creatives who approved the patch. Continuing in the comments section, the blogger moderated the conversation, adding: "BINGO. And at NO POINT did anything think to say... 'hmmm this 1940's school them [sic] combined with a yellow star and the fact that we are based in Europe is not a good idea maybe?' ..." And, well, they're right. So far, the blogger notes the pieces have been removed from Holt Renfrew and Net-A-Porter, though the brand declined to specify any further.
This situation, however, brings up an important conversation happening in fashion today. In a period of racial and cultural sensitivity, it seems designers have to be extra careful, making sure they triple and quadruple check just where exactly their inspirations are rooted. Even though it's just a star to some of us, it's not to others — and as society inches toward a more informed and progressive worldview, people have grown hyper-sensitive to things like this. Of course, we'd never think Miu Miu to be insensitive — or one to appropriate cultures outside the seams of its Italian heritage — but this definitely serves as an example that, when in doubt, just don't.