Forever 21 has sold some questionable wares in its time, such as the recent t-shirt that received widespread media attention for "promoting rape." However, you can rest assured that the Los Angeles-based fast fashion giant is not selling anti-Semitic rings, despite widespread suggestions of the contrary. Forever 21 came under fire on Sunday evening after a photo of swastika rings bearing Forever 21 tags surfaced on social media. The fast fashion giant was reportedly stocking the rings in stores, including ones in New York.
While the symbol does, in fact, have ties to the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, in which it means "well-being,” and has been used by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains for millennia, its use in the West is more heavily connected with Nazism – making Forever 21’s alleged use of it extremely controversial.
According to a statement from the brand made exclusively to TFL on Monday, the photo and surrounding fury is the result of a hoax, which appears to have been started by Seth Sklar, a New York-based individual. "Forever 21 takes feedback and product concerns very seriously. With regards to the rings in question, they are not a Forever 21 product and we are looking into the situation for more details," according to a spokesman for the brand.
Zara, on the other hand, has Zara become rather infamous for selling products featuring racist and anti-Semitic images and messages, including handbags depicting swastikas, children’s pajamas resembling concentration camp uniforms (a product that, after an international outcry, Zara said would be “exterminated”), necklaces containing figurines in black face, and a T-shirt proclaiming that “White Is the New Black.”
UPDATE (8/18/16): According to an additional statement provided to TFL by a Forever 21 spokesman, "Following a thorough investigation, including an audit of all international and domestic store records, we have reconfirmed that the reported item was never sourced, produced or sold by Forever 21. We believe the pictures in question were part of an unfortunate and cruel Internet hoax. Forever 21 would never knowingly source or sell such merchandise."