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Zara in hot Water Over “Pepe the Frog”

The clothing brand Zara has been increasingly popular over the last few years, but with a new collection they may have unknowingly put off shoppers.

The Spanish brand Zara has been creeping up as one of the go-to retail outlets for millennial women. Over the last few years, they have become a powerhouse with over 2,100 stores worldwide and a net worth of 10.7 Billion which had them ranked at number 53 on the ForbesWorld’s Most Valuable Brand” list.

Today, however, Zara is in a bit of hot water with a piece of their new  “Oil on Denim Collection.”  As reported by Vogue, the collection features a cut-off denim skirt by designer Mario de Santiago, known online as Yimeisgreat.

As reported by the Guardian in a statement from Zara, the cartoon has no link to Pepé.

 “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 skirt features a cartoon frog head that resembles a cartoon used by many hate groups that is referred to as “Pepé the Frog.” Last year, the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) declared the meme of Pepé the Frog a hate symbol after seeing it pop up in hateful comments and rhetoric online on a myriad of extremist websites, as well as during the investigation of harassment of journalists according to NYmag. The creator of the Pepé cartoon Matt Furie is devastated that his cartoon was taken over by extremists but has been working with the ADL to reclaim his work.

“It’s the worst-case scenario for any artist to lose control of their work and eventually have it labelled like a swastika or a burning cross.”

The skirt (featured below) is not the first time Zara has unknowingly marketed an item that was distasteful and anti-semitic.  In 2014, the brand had to pull a  blue and white striped “Sheriff” toddler pajama shirt (below) that featured a six-point yellow star on the chest, resembling the yellow star and outfits Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust.

As big of a brand Zara is becoming, they clearly have to do better in the research and common decency department.

For this to be happening again, really does speak to fast fashion. Don’t be so quick to create something “new” that you miss the fact that it was already done, and horribly so.

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