Letter to the Editor: Perri Schwartz
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Letter to the Editor: Perri Schwartz

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Letter to the editor,

Symbols of Hate Should Never Be A Fashion Statement

On July 9, 2020, fast fashion brand Shein began to sell a swastika pendant necklace for $2.50. For those of you who do not know, Shein is an online clothing boutique that has an insanely large following of young women and girls worldwide.

When this came to light, it immediately caused uproar from me and my fellow Jewish peers, calling for the removal of the necklace.

This comes in the wake of the anti-Semitic comments made by Philadelphia Eagles star DeSean Jackson that made references to Adolf Hitler and former Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who is known for his anti-Semitic comments. A lot of my friends, who are Jewish, have been sharing how they are feeling about this latest mess. Just this week, Shein removed Islamic prayer mats that were being sold as rugs.

In that very apology to the global Muslim community, they understood that “this was a highly offensive oversight” and “vow to do a much better job on different cultures, religions, and traditions.” That was at the beginning of the same week that this swastika necklace was being sold.

Just a few hours later, the item was removed, only because it caused a gigantic amount of outrage. However, this is not the first anti-Semitic item that Shein has attempted to sell. Last summer, Shein attempted to sell a Nazi-logo inspired T-shirt.

When asked for comment, a representative from Shein said [in a statement], “SHEIN was not selling a Nazi swastika pendant, the necklace is a Buddhist swastika which has symbolized spirituality and good fortune for more than a thousand years. The Nazi swastika has a different design, it is pointed clockwise and tilted at an angle. However, because we understand the two symbols can be confused and one is highly offensive, we have removed the product from our site.”

The statement continued, “As a multicultural and global brand, we want to apologize profusely to those who are offended, we are sensitive to these issues and want to be very clear that we in no way support or condone racial, cultural and religious prejudice or hostility.” The brand representative also shared that the company is setting up a product review committee for future items “to ensure that [it] respects [its] diverse community.”

“We are a global and all-inclusive brand and we are taking extreme measures to ensure that all items are cleared through a rigorous vetting process before we retail them,” the statement concluded.

Myself and many of my friends have pledged to never shop at Shein again. Shein also uses child labor, even though it has been outlawed in most countries.

According to the International Labour Organization, 170 million children are involved in illegal labor, and many in the fashion industry.

As a proud Jew, and a lover of fashion, I can come to the conclusion that symbols of hate are not fashion statements because they send the wrong message to the potential buyer and will remind us of dark times. Instead of shopping at fast fashion chains, shop at boutiques instead.

I will keep putting service above self through acts of tikkun olam. Anti-Semitism has no place in America.

Perri Schwartz, 17, Atlanta

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