Swastika Chic?


Is neo-Nazism back in fashion?

In May, a woman was shocked to discover a red swastika stamped on the insoles of her black Steve Madden shoes. More recently, a British customer returned a colorful handbag after discovering four green swastikas embroidered at the corners, alongside cheerful-looking flowers and bicycles.

“It’s a terrible thing to put on the bag,” Rachel Hatton, a 19-year-old from Ashford, Kent, told Britain’s Daily Mail. She hadn’t noticed the swastika when she bought the bag for 39 pounds (about $78) at Zara, the trendy Spanish fashion chain owned by Inditex, with stores around in Manhattan and around the globe.

An e-mail now circulating is crying anti-Semitism and encouraging a mass boycott of Zara. But no need to give up your fashion fix just yet. As it turns out, the swastika mishap was just a fluke.

Only one handbag of the 1,000 produced bore a swastika design, the company confirmed. Zara immediately apologized and destroyed the bag. The company also withdrew the entire handbag collection from its stores, said Jesús Echevarr’a, communication and institutional relations managing director of Inditex.

“The handbag was sourced from an external supplier from India, and each of the units of this model was decorated differently, all using Hindu symbols,” Echevarria said, adding that none of the preliminary designs included a swastika.

The swastika is an ancient Hindu symbol representing “good luck.” It wasn’t until the Nazi party adopted the symbol in 1920 that the swastika became associated with Hitler, the Holocaust and hate.