What were they thinking?

The luxury Spanish brand Loewe launched a collection on November 14 that included a black and white striped outfit that looks not unlike a World War II era concentration camp uniform (with the addition of patch pockets and the subtraction of a matching hat.) Loewe said the design was inspired by 19th century British Arts & Crafts ceramicist William De Morgan (not sure how, as it doesn’t resemble the exotic floral glaze work he is known for).

I often think complaints about cultural appropriation are the result of snowflakes who are looking for something to complain about, but sometimes it’s hard not to see anything but the obvious appropriation. I don’t think concentration camp uniforms were the inspiration for this outfit anymore than blackface was the inspiration for that Gucci sweater, however, why is it that nobody at these companies saw the resemblance and brought up the issue before production and launch? Should there be more history majors working at these companies who can identify some basic historical events from the past century? Are most people that dumb when it comes to our recent past? If they had even just dumped the trousers and maybe the black breast pocket the effect would be very different.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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