In case you missed it, fast-fashion retailer Shein was recently caught selling a gold swastika necklace online.
Since getting called out, Shein has taken down the necklace from the website and issued a statement to Teen Vogue (they also posted a note on Instagram saying “sorry we let you down” with a frowny face). But their so-called “apology” reads more like, “sorry not sorry.”
Shein’s statement begins,
“For the record, SHEIN was not selling a Nazi swastika pendant, the necklace is a Buddhist swastika which has symbolized spirituality and good fortune for more than a thousand years. The Nazi swastika has a different design. It is pointed clockwise and tilted at an angle. However, because we understand the two symbols can be confused and one is highly offensive, we have removed the product from our site.”
Um, excuse me? What kind of lame apology is that?!
If we want to get hyper-technical about things, yes, the Nazi swastika points in the opposite direction. But nobody looks at a swastika of any kind and thinks, “Buddhist,” not “Nazi.” Because even though Buddhism does have a history with the swastika, Nazis have 100% coopted it — no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
I find it impossible to believe that not a single person at Shein couldn’t see that. Considering how many people need to approve a product within a major company like Shein before it goes public, you would be hard-pressed to find someone in the chain of command who wouldn’t catch that immediately. And to act like this was all an innocent “misunderstanding” is an attempt to gaslight us all.
This was not an issue of “confusion” as Shein would have you think. This was a fast-fashion brand attempting to sell the masses an anti-Semitic necklace for $2.50.
And it’s not even the first time a brand has tried to pull the wool over our eyes. Zara previously sold a purse covered in swastikas as well as a child’s t-shirt with a felt gold Star of David designed to look the ones that Nazis made Jews wear just prior to concentration camps.
I sincerely hope that shoppers don’t forget about this. Because people seem to have short-term memories these days and we cannot allow companies like Shein to think they can get away with anti-Semitism and then go back to business as usual.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.