Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

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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High street fashion giant Topman is once again making 
headlines for it's callous approach to design. This time 
instead of misogynistic t-shirts the retailer has been 
selling clothing emblazoned with Nazi insignia. 

The jacket in question, the £205 “grunge look” Horace hooded
denim jacket featured an emblem worn by Second World War SS 
troops.
 topnazi
The ancient Norse odal rune, a symbol which like the 
swastika, was appropriated Adolf Hitler to symbolise 
his belief in a pure Aryan race. The symbol was worn by 
ethnic Germans of the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division 
in Croatia. It has also been adopted by neo-Nazi skinheads 
and right wing fascist groups. 

The men's clothing retailer, a part of Sir Philip Green's tax-
dodging Arcadia group, apologised for the blunder after it
was pointed out by an online shopper. 

The shopper, from Hove, East Sussex, posted a review pointing out the fashion faux pas on the
Topman website. Talking to The Mirror he said: “A friend of mine who wears punk-style clothing 
shared the link with me on Facebook. When I looked more closely I saw the Nazi insignia.” 

ss collatrAdding: “When I checked to see if Topman had published my review
I noticed they had withdrawn the jacket from sale." 

The jacket, part of the Horace fashion range made by an outside supplier,
was only available online at Topman. A store spokesman said: 
“The jacket was not designed by Topman. We apologise for any offence 
caused.”

Topman, a term to be used loosely.

Posted: September 14, 2011 in Fashion, Sexism

Fashion giant Topman has decided to withdraw two t-shirts from their latest range after they received large amounts of comments from people furious over the items messages. The first t-shirt in question bore the text “Nice New Girlfriend: What Breed Is She?” whilst the second, a violent pillar-box red number, lists a series of excuses for what the reader is lead to assume is an act of domestic violence, including “You provoked me” and “I was drunk”. A campaign against the blatant sexism began on Twitter, where Tender, a London-based charity that works with young people to tackle the causes of domestic violence, picked it up. This campaign led to a Facebook group, which quickly picked up 332 members before, just a few hours after the backlash began, Topman announced their decision to stop selling the T-shirts.

Topman showing once more that sexism sells.

 

A spokeswoman said in a statement: “We have received some negative feedback regarding two of our printed T-shirts. While we would like to stress that these T-shirts were meant to be lighthearted and carried no serious meaning, we have made the decision to remove these (sic) from store and on-line as soon as possible. We would like to apologise to those who may have been offended by these designs.

The incident is the third in a month in which there has been controversy regarding t-shirt slogans produced by major names. First the Kate Moss, Slogan For Girls t-shirt which read, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. Then the horrific JC Penny girls’ top that exclaimed the wearer was “Too pretty for homework” and that as such her brother had to do it. The implication that girls should make boys do all the serious stuff while they sit pretty and only ugly girls do work is a bit hard to swallow. If clothing lines give out the message that its okay for girls not to do homework, it’s going to have an inevitable reaction on how young people see themselves. The gender gap starts at school with fewer than 9% of girls opting to take GSCE Physics as it is seen as a ‘boys’ subject. So messages that girls should get their brothers to do maths (another so called ‘boy’ subject) aren’t helpful.