Zara has been under fire for plagiarizing trends in the past, but the retail store reached a new low when it tried to sell denim skirts with Pepe the frog on them for their new spring collection — apparently without googling first.
The skirt is frayed, distressed, and totally cute, aside from the sunglasses-clad embroidered frogs that are clearly copycats of the popular meme-turned-white-supremacist-icon.
Pepe was at one point considered by many as nothing more than a harmless meme. However, since then the Anti-Defamation League has designated it as a hate symbol for its overpowering racist uses by hate-groups. It was also used by white supremacists during the 2016 election to represent Trump and to promote nationalist, anti-Semitic messages, giving the meme further mainstream attention.
Which leads me to my main point: how could Zara possibly have missed this? The company must have either missed the Pepe scandal entirely (which is hard to imagine, given its size and influence) or simply thought the meme would resonate with young shoppers anyways, which is somehow worse.
This isn’t Zara’s first time in the media, either; in 2014, for example, they tried to release shirts that mirrored concentration camp uniform designs.
After the (obvious) backlash, Zara has removed the Pepe skirt from its website.
Here’s hoping nobody bought it.