Topshop pulls 'keffiyeh playsuit' after row over cultural theft

#Fashion

Topshops' 'scarf playsuit' sparked outrage on Twitter, as users accused the store of Palestinian cultural appropriation

Image of the 'festival playsuit' that was pulled from sale (Topshop.com)
Nadine Dahan's picture
Last update: 
Thursday 6 April 2017 15:19 UTC
Topics: 

Topshop, the fashion chain, has pulled a playsuit in a monochrome scarf print after it was accused of “cultural appropriation" for using a pattern similar to the famous Palestinian keffiyeh.

The keffiyeh has been a symbol of Palestinian nationalism that was made famous in the 1960s by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. It is widely considered a symbol of Palestinian resistance and is often worn today as a sign of solidarity.

The clothing store was hit by a string of criticism after posting the black and white "scarf playsuit" on its website.

The "history of hardship and bloodshed" associated with the design was quickly pointed out by Twitter users, who were angered by the product.

File April 4, 2017

The clothing company was accused of appropriating a symbol of resistance and solidarity in order to "sell fashion".

https://twitter.com/Dena/status/849060466676580356/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc...

File https://t.co/n1eknDNjgU

Following the backlash, the item of clothing is no longer available on the Topshop website and a spokeswoman told the Evening Standard on Thursday that “Topshop is in the process of removing this style from sale.”

Social media users pointed out previous instances where the company was accused of cultural appropriation.