People are finding this scarf from H&M offensive, and here’s why

Now that we’re officially in the midst of winter, stores have stocked their shelves with coats, hats, and scarves galore. But one particular scarf sold at H&M has got customers and the Internet in an uproar.

H&M is currently selling a cream-colored scarf with dark stripes. The $17.99 scarf looks pretty darn similar to a tallit, which is a traditional Jewish prayer shawl (pictured below left, available at typically worn in synagogue and temple; it even includes “tzitzit,” or the knotted fringe at the ends.

And, as you’d probably imagine, people are pretty ticked off. Many took to Twitter to express their annoyance with the retailer and to let them know that selling their culture as a “fashion statement” is absolutely not OK.

Others, on the other hand, believe it’s an honest mistake and NBD:

And still others think it’s actually good that the retailer is creating controversy.

This isn’t the first time that a major retailer has stepped on the toes of the Jewish community in the name of fashion. Back in 2012, almost 3,000 people signed a petition asking Urban Outfitters to remove their “Auschwitz chic” shirt from stores and online. Less than three years later, the store released a tapestry that looked suspiciously and disturbingly like the clothing homosexual male prisoners in Nazi concentration camps were forced to wear.

Of course, H&M’s scarf isn’t nearly as egregious as either of those major clothing fails, but it’s still important that we’re having a open dialogue about this — and about cultural appropriation in fashion as a whole.

(Image via H&M, Twitter)

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