Military-inspired apparel is a lasting trend season after season — camo print, army jackets, and olive green apparel, to name a few timeless styles — but it seems like H&M might have taken the inspiration a little too far (coupled with poor timing). A jumpsuit featured in the Swedish retailer’s Autumn/Winter collection drew comparisons to the uniforms worn by soldiers of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units battling Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The one-piece garment, which is being sold online in the U.S. for $19.95, was styled in an advertisement with a brown belt and boots A Facebook commenter said: “At times like these, they choose to capitalize from the brave Kurdish fighters in Kurdistan. They should be ashamed of themselves!” On Twitter, Ali Najat Barzinjy added, “Wtf this is our traditional uniform it is not for every one.” And Amir M. Ashour said, “H&M, instead of being inspired by #Kurdish women #Peshmarga’s clothes, be inspired by their bravery & sacrifices. #TwitterKurds #stereotypes”
While some on social media are disappointed with the fast-fashion company’s advertisement, others find the look empowering. “YOU GO GIRLS SO PROUD,” Neferpitou wrote on Twitter. Sarah Kathryn Grow tweeted, “interesting thing is some of my Kurdish friends were celebrating this ad campaign and thanking h&m.”Others called the look “brilliant,” “inspiring,” and thanking H&M for showing its support.
H&M has since issued an apology. “We are truly sorry if we have offended anyone with this piece, this was of course never our intention,” H&M’s global press officer, Ida Ståhlnacke, said in a statement. “The last seasons we have seen an increasing demand on jumpsuits and therefore we currently offer a selection of jumpsuits in different colors and materials, such as denim blue and deep red. The jumpsuit in question is made in a light and comfortable material and is a part of a larger collection consisting of many garments in khaki green, which also is one of the trendiest colors this season.”