A shirt being sold at Mango has come under fire for its pattern, which bears a resemblance to a symbol used in Nazi Germany. The white blouse is covered in black zig-zag lines, and while it’s being marketed as a “lightning print shirt,” many have pointed out that the design looks like the Siegrune, a victory insignia worn by secret police officers and Hitler Youth on uniforms during World War II.
On social media, where the chiffon collared top’s controversial pattern was first pointed out, it has been called “Nazi chic," part of the "Eva Braun" collection, and an "epic #design fail." It has sparked particular ire in Germany, where even muttering the word “Nazi” is outlawed. The emblem of the SS security force is considered unconstitutional and prohibited from being used. “Who does not see here the Nazi symbolism and it denies to others, is part of the problem,” C. Judge tweeted. ”I’m not saying it was intentional. But it is negligent and unreflective.”
The shirt is being sold online for $59.99 and paired with black pants and boots as a “total look.” While some have drawn comparisons in the wording to a speech given in 1943 (the crowd is asked, “Do you want total war?”), this association seems like a stretch. Many e-commerce sites, including ASOS, Urban Outfitters, and Forever21, have a “complete the look” or “shop the outfit” option when an item is being shown on a model with multiple products for sale.
But just as much of the response to the blouse has been calling others’ reactions overblown. On Twitter, one user asked if Harry Potter’s scar on his forehead makes him a Nazi. Another wrote, in German, “sorry but what’s going on in your head that you see everywhere Nazi symbols? Hitler is not in Mango but in your heads!” Someone even thinks that it could just be the AC/DC flash, a simple nod to rock ‘n’ roll and not German politics. “One can also misinterpret something. I see normal lightning. As it can be seen on electrical boxes,” Santa Moreno tweeted in German.
In response to the outcry, Mango said it regrets the “unfortunate association” some have noticed. In a statement, the Spain-based retailer said, “the RAYO blouse belongs to a collection inspired by mini-motifs. In the range there are two other models which feature hearts and stars.” The shirt has not been taken off the shelves.
This isn’t the first (and probably not the last) time that a Nazi symbol has made its way onto a piece of clothing. Just recently, Zara — which happens to be owned by Mango’s parent company — released a child’s T-shirt that looked like a Nazi concentration camp uniform. And also in 2007, Zara pulled off shelves a handbag that was embroidered with swastikas. Sears was also caught selling a silver ring with a swastika design.