Once again, the ghost of Hitler is haunting our decorative fabrics.
Today the internet is a fire with news that the popular clothing and novelty trinket retailer Urban Outfitters has been caught selling a “tapestry” strikingly similar in design to the uniforms the Nazis forced homosexuals to wear while interned in concentration camps.
The Urban Outfitters tapestry:
The concentration camp uniform worn by homosexual condemned to extermination:
People on the internet, of course, are outraged about this. How could Urban Outfitters possibly be so ignorant or so tasteless as to try and sell people Holocaust-themed fashion? Did the corporation learn nothing from their bloody Kent State hoodie fiasco?
Only Naziwatch, however, has the answer to that question—a vast international conspiracy.
Merchandise like what just appeared at Urban Outfitters are nothing new. Last year, Zara—the massive Spanish retailer—was caught selling this “children’s” shirt:
In both those cases, Zara apologized for their “accidental” embracement of Nazi-chic, burned the items in a bonfire, and explained that Zara didn’t actually make the items in question. No executive went out to the corporate sweetshops in Bangladesh and said, “Hey child slave laborers, make me some cool t-shirts with one of them Jew stars on it.” Instead some vendor came to them with the Jewish star shirt and handbag and said, “Hey, you should sell this. People will love it.” Presumably Urban Outfitters will say something similar in the next couple days. It’s not our fault, we’re just an entire corporation of historically unaware fools. We were duped!
But who then is doing the duping?
You can maybe excuse the bag as being the work of a culturally Hindu or Buddhist designer, for whom the swastika is a sacred symbol of rebirth, not genocide. Shame on Zara for selling it, but it’s not inconceivable that some underpaid, overworked clothing designer operating out of a Kolkata basement was oblivious to the political iconography of another continent.
But it does seem impossible that the people who made that tapestry and the t-shirt were unaware of their Nazi references. Even by the standards of fashion—even pre-fabricated hipster fashion—these are ugly, stupid designs. There is no reason to have made them with those symbols and those stripes other than their Nazism. The beauty of a single pink triangle over an assortment of grey and white stripes is not a thing that has ever occurred independently to anyone.
Therefore, there must be at least one designer operating somewhere in the world whose direct intention it is to trick large corporations into selling Nazi-themed merchandise. The origin of these public relations disasters must be in their perverse desire to see the imagery of the Reich emblazoned across the wealthy, decadent, consumerist societies that destroyed Hitler’s dream of a perfect world free from the blemishes of homosexuality, Jewishness, etc.
But they also must have accomplices. Surely if you bring your bag of Nazi wares to the JCPenney offices and the woman on vendor examination duty that day happens to be Jewish, you must be thrown out on your ass and your name blackballed or all eternity. There must be people inside these companies, inside Urban Outfitters, inside Zara, inside perhaps every major clothing retailer who is a likeminded Hitler-revivalists who either A) slip the items on through the corporate bureaucracy or, more likely, B) spot the purchasing agents who are stupid enough not realize that the reason a new t-shirt seems “iconic” is because they glimpsed it while channel surfing past a late night rerun of Schindler’s List.
Never forget, if there is but one hole in our armor, Hitler will always find a way through it.
As ever, we end Naziwatch with a Humanist prayer.
“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.”
~ John Philpot Curran, may he ever guide our souls towards the abolition of evil in whatever guises it might hide.
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