Fashion for Fascists

Posted: April 17, 2014 in Anti-Fascism, Fashion, UK

20140423-112401.jpgA controversial clothing brand strongly associated with the extreme right in Europe has opened a high street store in London.

Thor Steinar, the fashion label popular with hardline right wingers in Germany, has opened a shop in north London called the Viking Thor Shop – but locals may be unaware of its right-wing roots. The shop has been operating from Ballards Lane in North Finchley since late last month, bringing clothing heavily associated with European far-right street movements to the UK.

Whilst the stores owner claims not to have any links with the far right the arrival of the shop was welcomed by the white power website Stormfront, where users posted boasting that “London gets its first white nationalist clothing shop”. A number of users also pledged to visit the store.

The Thor Steinar brand has faced bans in the German Bundestag, in several football stadium and members of the far-right German National Democratic Party have been expelled from parliament for wearing the brand. Its clothes were banned outright in Germany in 2004 because of the logo’s similarity to symbols worn by the Nazi SS – but the company has rebranded since then.

In March 2012 the label drew global controversy when the company opened a shop called Brevik in Saxony. It was accused of naming the store after far-right mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. The brand claimed it was named in honour of the Norwegian town of Brevik in Oslo but later changed the name and removed the sign. The Norwegian government also filed a complaint against the retailer over use of it’s national flag in February 2008.

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Above the door at the north London Viking store, an ambiguous Wolfsangel-style Nordic rune is proudly displayed.

The company was launched in October 2002 and was initially based in Königs Wusterhausen, German. In 2009 it moved to Dubai – provoking outrage from some of its extreme right customers who threatened a boycott. The clothes regularly feature Vikings and Nordic themes – mythology which plays a central role in the extreme right’s racial purist views.

Thor Steinar shops in Germany have been repeatedly targeted by anti-fascist protests and repeatedly vandalised. Earlier this month in Hanover 350 protesters gathered outside a Thor Steinar store to protest against what they see as a “right wing lifestyle store”.

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