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Retailer pulls shirts reminiscent of Holocaust

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
updated 8:08 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spanish fashion retailer Zara sorry for striped T-shirt bearing yellow star
  • Item drew criticism for resemblance to uniforms worn by concentration camp inmates
  • Zara parent company says shirt inspired by "sheriff's stars" from Western films
  • "We honestly apologize," company says on Twitter

(CNN) -- Spanish fashion retailer Zara has apologized for selling a striped T-shirt bearing a yellow star that drew criticism for its resemblance to uniforms worn by Jewish concentration camp inmates.

Zara said the garment, advertised online as a striped "sheriff" T-shirt, was inspired by "the sheriff's stars from the Classic Western films."

"We honestly apologize," Zara said on Twitter in response to numerous outraged tweets.

The offending item was removed from Zara stores and its website, according to a press release from Zara's parent company, Inditex. It was on sale for just a few hours before the company pulled it "due to the potential similarity with the Star of David," the company said.

Celebrated designer Gianni Versace was killed on July 15, 1997, allegedly by suspected mass-murderer Andrew Cunanan. Versace's sister, Donatella, took over the Versace company three months after he died. Ten years after Versace's death, Italy's fashion capital paid tribute to the slain fashion designer with a glittering ballet performance at Milan's La Scala opera house. Celebrated designer Gianni Versace was killed on July 15, 1997, allegedly by suspected mass-murderer Andrew Cunanan. Versace's sister, Donatella, took over the Versace company three months after he died. Ten years after Versace's death, Italy's fashion capital paid tribute to the slain fashion designer with a glittering ballet performance at Milan's La Scala opera house.
Fashion world shockers: Gianni Versace
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Sales were "marginal" and the remaining products will be "destroyed."

"Inditex would like to reiterate its utmost respect for all cultures and religions. The Group is a Company where people from 180 nationalities work together representing all the cultures, races and religions of the modern world. Inditex is proud of its cultural diversity. In addition, respect and dignity feature among the principles which guide and define its corporate values. The Group condemns and rejects any form of discrimination."

It's not the first time Zara has come under fire for using controversial imagery, according to the World Jewish Congress, one of many groups that called out the garment on social media.

The fashion chain withdrew a line of handbags in 2007 from stores in Britain after some said the design featured Nazi swastikas.

"The bag had been produced in Asia, however, where the symbol also carries ancient cultural significance," the World Jewish Congress said in a statement.

The Anti-Defamation League said it welcomed the removal of what it called the "deeply offensive" shirt.

"The shirt emblazoned with the yellow star is in poor taste and is deeply offensive to Jews and Holocaust survivors. To anyone who knows their history, this kind of imagery should be off-limits. We welcome Zara's recognition of the shirt's potentially offensive imagery and removal from sale," the group said in a statement.

"This is not the first time we have seen a retail clothing company making this same offensive mistake. The fact that this keeps happening shows that there is a serious need for education about the Holocaust and the history of anti-Semitism."

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