Still problematic online retailer Shein is under surveillance again for selling offensive items with hate symbols and inappropriate cultural meanings. Last week, the China-based fast fashion company came under fire for selling Muslim prayer rugs as decorative rugs, undermining and appropriating the religious importance of the Islamic faith. Muslim activist groups and networks such as Prada diet quickly noticed the offensive object and called out to Shein for his heinous tactics. People reached out to Shein directly to discuss the indignation and problem, which led the company to apologize and remove the mats from its online site.
Well that was last week… This week Shein finds herself in the middle of a scandal after customers find a swastika pendant necklace for sale on the site. It is absolutely baffling that a brand would produce and sell anything with the anti-Semitic symbol of hatred and religious supremacy, especially in the wake of another religiously offensive scandal. How the necklace ended up on the site is horribly amazing, especially since the swastika symbol is so directly entrenched in society as a hateful and violent symbol.
With their recent apologies for the prayer rugs still looming in everyone’s heads, Shein released another statement claiming that they wanted the necklace symbol to refer to the Buddhist symbol of peace, an ancient use of the swastika which clearly does not conform to most of the modern world view of the symbol. While the origins of the symbol might suggest a different meaning, the vast majority of people associate the swastika with Nazism and anti-Semitism. Whatever the intentions, Shein is an international retailer, selling to customers all over the world. They should have thought more before selling a symbol literally representing war and genocide.
Since the necklace was discovered on Shein’s website on Wednesday, people have continued to call out the brand for their problematic practices such as child labor in exchange for very low prices and questionable quality. The offensive material coincides with NFL headlining anti-Semitic comments from NFL player DeSean Jackson earlier this week, which sparked outrage on social media and news sites, making Shein’s mistakes exceptionally timely. The Shein incidents aren’t the first time that a large, fast-paced fashion group has come under scrutiny for appropriation and offensive religious symbols.
Zara made the headlines in 2014 for selling a striped shirt with an applied yellow Star of David blatantly resembling the shirts concentration camp prisoners wore during the Holocaust, among other scandals that plagued fast fashion brands for decades. years. Hopefully, with renewed calls for social justice and further scrutiny of the fashion industry, brands, especially fast fashion brands, start to think a little more about the sensibilities of the models they sell. . Shein’s latest mistakes could also wake people up from their naivety about what and where they buy both ethically and sustainably.
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