Oh, You Didn't Want a Swastika-Decorated Handbag?

Red faces all round at the Zara fashion chain today after this little number made it onto store shelves. Fashion uber alles!

Of course the bag was a mistake and ought to be taken from the shelves. But I thought that in this era of globalization, most literate people were aware that the Nazis appropriated the swastika? One does see it in Bali sometimes, and believe me, Balinese are not Nazis.

I agree the bag has to go, but I don’t agree that people should villify those who inadvertantly associated themselves with it. The producers/retailers (and purchasers!) were unobservant, to say the least. But profuse excoriation/lecturing is hardly necessary. What, the complainers don’t think the bag will come off the shelves unless they make pronouncements explaining how unacceptable it is? That’s just silly.

Well there’s two camps that have an opinion it seems.

The first find the use a symbol used by Nazi’s to be offensive.
And the second group know it had, and has, other meanings in many other cultures.

But seriously, it doesn’t really matter what other cultures think of the symbol when it’s being sold in the UK. In the UK a majority of people are going to see it as a Nazi symbol.

Not the first time this symbol has caused a problem… a bank in Bolton has swastikas on its mosaic floor. They refused to remove them, which I think is fair enough. Perhaps a notice to educate customers would be a nice idea.

How fucking stupid do you have to be to buy a bag without looking at it? I mean, I could understand if there was some little defect in the stitching or maybe a small stain that wasn’t readily apparent in the store, but how do you miss four big green swastikas inside big pink sunbursts? What a dumbass.

Or, incredibly clever.

Step One: Spot a product with a, probably inadvertant, offensive design feature.
Step Two: Buy one (or more if you can).
Step Three: Ring up the newsdesk of the Daily Hate and make it so that the shop has to withdraw the product from sale.
Step Four: Put now infamous product on Ebay.
Step Five: Profit.

The swastikas are inside what are clearly sun symbols. The swastika original;ly was, I’ve been told, a solar symbol, and it’s suggested that the bent arms suggest rotation, as in the sun moving across the sky. Looks as if the designer pulled out an old solar symbol from some book of symbols or something and either used it without thinking, or thought we were past the association with Nazis.


In a hundred years or so you might be able to use a sawstika again, but I suspect the Nazi association will still be there.
Swastikas were used by many groups, by the way, not just in India. You can see them in the American Southwest as a traditional symbol.

And even Nazi swastikas are still to be found in public buildimngs. IIRC, you can see them painted in the mural of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial (the upstairs one) at the American Museum of Natural History (the room the Central Park West doors open into). They’ve got Japanese “Rising Sun” flags, too.

More likely, I’d say, the bags were made in India or SE Asia, where those are perfectly cromulent symbols. Says a lot about Zara’s product buyers that they then shipped a load in without looking at them closely enough to notice, but hey - cheap bags!!!11

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:
My favorite post of the day.

The lauburu (“four heads” in Basque) is sort of a fatty swastika, just posting it as another example of a culture with similar symbols.

That web provides interpretations of it as “a symbol of the four elements,” “a solar symbol,” “a symbol of the wind.” Navarro Villoslada registers, in Amaya (a novel where he collected legends from around the Basque Lands), a legend of it being the four heads of Aitor’s eldest children, tied by the beards and sent back to daddy by the rebellious three youngest children. It carries its share of political load.

It’s perfectly possible that the bags were part of a group of similar designs and the samples Zara got and approved didn’t include the swastika (which is the explanation they give). OK, so they’ve retired them and will make sure to include “make sure you get to see all designs when buying sets” in their procedures. I still rate this under “oopsies,” not under “racist murderers.”

Which is so depressing. I mean, it’s part of my culture they robbed, and so now forever when people see it they think of the atrocities, but that’s not what it means!

And to think, this whole time, I thought there were only three steps! :smack:

What offends me most about those bags is that they weight 39 pounds.

That’s because all of the, er, baggage they contain. :wink:

Only uneducated people. Indian stores around here proudly display swastikas with no problem.

Wow, I never thought of it that way. That’s heavy, man!

Don’t know about in the US, but in Asia a swastika outside a storefront often designates that there’s a vegetarian restaurant inside. It’s usually reversed (i.e., mirror image) from the Nazi orientation, though.

It is too bad about the Nazis; the swastika is kind of a cool symbol. As is the rising sun flag. Bloody fascists got all the fashion sense.

That’s the first time I’ve ever seen anyone post from “Step 1” through “Profit” without a gap.

I think I am more offended by the sheer ugliness of the bag, rather than any particular symbol on the bag.

Hitler carried a bag that looked just like it!