No, sorry, this historic garment is not Haute Couture. But you are an awful person.
When there is an original striped jacked worn in Auschwitz is on display… and at a private opening a woman says “what a beautiful piece of clothing, they should have it back in production.”
So, I’ve had this submission in the queue for a couple of months, not sure how to “gif” it. I minored in Holocaust Studies and the appropriation of Holocaust stories and artifacts as a launching point for “entertainment” purposes has always been something I have found distasteful when not handled tactfully, and obviously I’m not actually capable of tact. But then this morning, a friend posted a link to this story on Facebook:
So this is not only the random foot-in-mouth thought of an insensitive person in a museum failing to grasp the historical role of the garment she was admiring. An entire company missed the memo on not appropriating culturally sensitive imagery for profit. Writer, actor and tall person John Cleese has something to say about that.
While the design elements of the Zara shirt do not mirror a camp garment, the overall similarity is unsettling. The look of the camp garments is well documented in history, as is the general look of the “Old West Sheriff” (which the article cites as the look they were trying to capture). A striped shirt alone would not have triggered that negative association in me. A plain shirt with a star on the breast would not have triggered that imagery with me. A striped shirt with a yellow star on the breast? KLAXONS. To me, the haunting similarity of the Zara shirt to the camp garment is entirely obvious and never should have made it out of the sketching phase, while the only hint to the “Sheriff” inspiration is the embroidery on the patch (which is very difficult to see in the photo). And of course, the Zara shirt has a stylized 6 point star, similar to, but not identical to, the Star of David. (edited for claritity)
Museums put historically significant garments on display to help us learn and teach about historical events, people and context. Fashion designers look at historically significant garments for inspiration. Both require an appreciation for the cultural context of those garments.
I don’t think that Zara produced the shirt maliciously. I do think they were incredibly ignorant. What do you all think?