Has Zara gone too far?

Currently, some clothing brands are getting a lot of attention because of specific products. However this attention is not positive but is received as offensive. It began with a t-shirt of Zara with the words: “white is the new black”. Some people belief that Zara refers to the new hit serie ‘orange is the new black’ or to the catch phrase. But others thought this was racially offensive.

However, soon after this incident Zara was under attack again because of another shirt. This time it was a striped black- white shirt with a yellow star. Zara claimed it was inspired at a sheriff shirt. But people were in shock because it reminded them of the shirts Jewish prisoners wore in the concentration camps.


Zara is not the only fashion brand that caused a storm recently. Another clothing brand who was in the news is ‘urban outfitters’, They sold sweaters of Kent State University with blood spatters. In 1970 the Kent State shootings caused 4 lives and 9 people were injured. Urban Outfitters has a history with controversial shirts. They also had shirt with the words ‘depression’ and ‘eat less’. Urban Outfitters’ excuse? They said it was just a big misunderstanding and they did not ment to refer to this tragic events.

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What is wrong with these brands? They all say it was a mistake and they did not ment to shock people but should we believe them? Or is this a marketing trick to get attention?

Perhaps the brands are using their products as shock advertising. With shock advertising a brand tries to shock people with their products or advertising to gain more awareness. Often this strategy fails because it comes across desperate. ‘It is never a foundation for long- term equity’. (Keller, 2013) Most of the time seks, drugs, violence or other taboos are used in advertisement to shock consumers. (Business Insider, 2011) United Colors of Benetton and American Apparel are known for using this advertisement strategy.

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Personally, I think that some clothing brands hit a new low. I think it is tacky to use the holocaust or university shootings to boost the sales or raise brand awarness. The question that I ask myself is if I really want to be associated with a brand who does these kind of things.


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