In just one week, the fast fashion chain sold TWO culturally insensitive products.
(The "Metal Pendant Necklace" previously for sale on Shein's website / Shein.co.uk)
In just one week, fast fashion retailer Shein has had to make two apologizes for two separate accounts of selling culturally insensitive products on its website, causing many to declare a boycott.
"We made a gigantic mistake," the company posted on Instagram. And the Internet seems to agree on all levels.
On Thursday morning, the company had put up a gold-colored necklace with a swastika charm for sale on its website. The necklace was labeled “Metal Pendant Necklace” and was sold for $2.50 and was removed the same day.
Naturally, many took to Twitter and Instagram in outrage over the brand's decision to sell a charm associated with the horrendous Nazi regime and the Holocaust.
Shein said it had intended the charm to be associated with the Buddhist swastika, meaning good fortune, since that's where the symbol originated. Adolf Hitler and the horrendous Nazi regime used the swastika on a 45-degree angle, changing the connotation of the swastika as we know it today.
"The Buddhist symbol has stood for good fortune for more than a thousand years and has a different design than the Nazi swastika which stands for hate," Shein said in a statement. "But frankly, that doesn’t matter because we should’ve been more considerate of the symbol’s hurtful connotations to so many people around the world, and we didn’t.”
Even if the swastika charm had stood for the Buddhist symbol of good fortune, some online users are calling the brand out for cultural appropriation. Twitter user @kitkatbrownie5 said, "if you really want a Buddhist peace sign, buy it at a temple, where it has true meaning."
Likewise, Shein's Instagram comments are filled with users unsatisfied by the company's response.
Instagram user @arielsam924 said, "How is this the only thing that you could do to apologize? How about taking the profits from the sales of this necklace and donating them to an anti-defamation organization or a Jewish charity? This is a half-assed apology and an embarrassment. You didn't even mention Jews in your response.."
To make matters worse, this incidence was not the first time Shein sold insensitive merchandise.
Just last week, Shein received criticism for selling Islamic prayer mats labeled as “decorative rugs”. For the Muslim community, prayer mats are sacred and are to be kept clean and in a holy manner. Therefore, labeling the mats as "decorative" in the store's home decor section was insulting and insensitive to the community.
In an Instagram statement following the backlash, Shein called the situation “a highly offensive oversight” and said it “formed a product review committee with staff from different cultures and religions so a mistake like this doesn’t happen again.’
Well, I think we know how that went. Considering the magnitude and proximity of Shein's mistakes in the last week, I think it's fair to say that they may have a decrease in shipments. And anyway, it might be for the best. Now, you have more reason to seek out a Black-owned business to support instead.
Lauren Rousseau is the Online Editor at Rowdy Magazine. She loves reality shows, anything pop culture and baking cookies at inappropriate hours. Find her on Instagram at @laurenxrousseau or pitch her a story at firstname.lastname@example.org