F21 Shirt Brings Terrible Blast From the Past

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Photo Courtesy of Forever 21

The shirt called “Famous Graphic Tee” with "hate symbols" present.

Alyssa Pepito, Photojournalist

What was once everyone’s favorite store has now gone through so much over the course of years. Forever 21 stands as a controversial shop for all people due to previous accusations. This time, Forever 21 pulls a line of T-shirts from their shelves as women Stella Lopez and Amie Alton were shopping in Modesto, California observed and pointed out that there were Nazi tags on them.

Recently, the shirt called “Famous Graphic Tee” which got pulled from their store included certain explicit symbols which some women felt were Nazi tags. The shirt showed various patterns scattered all over the tee. One symbol is a number 88 in which is also known as a white supremacist tag for HH, meaning “Heil Hitler.” The ‘H’ is the eighth letter of the alphabet. This specific design was repeated all over the shirt. In addition to that, another symbol which proved the women’s point was one of the lighting bolt. The women admitted the lighting bolt was “reminiscent of the double lightning bolt symbol” which was used by the Nazi Party (Daily Mail). ‘SS’ stood for Schutzstaffel which was the feared military organization under Hitler’s reign.

Putting two and two together, the combining of the one lightning symbol and the number ‘88’ being adjacent to the word “famous” the women interpreted it to say “88 forever” which was speculated to be a major white supremacist message. One of the women named Amie Alton states, “fascism isn’t fashion.” With that, they even added how they should donate the profits of the shirt to charity when the shirts are completely removed from all stores.

This is quite important to know about as Forever 21 has been called out many times for previous cruel acts. For example, they were called out for promoting rape culture and justifying sexual assault with phrases on shirts which read “Don’t say maybe if you want to say no.” This had Forever 21 caught under fire. Katrina Wynn (10) adds that “I was disappointed with Forever 21’s previous mishaps, but I feel like this time there wasn’t any real problem.”

Although, if the creators of this tee really intended to input these symbols of hate, then that is truly wrong and the shirts should have already been taken down. Yet, I feel the situation in it’s entirety is a bit overdramatic. It appears as many people can overlook it in some aspects. The women have a well proven point, but at the same time it all looks overanalyzed. I feel that the whole situation is just a big misunderstanding, and Alton and Lopez looked too deep into it. If I were to pass by this shirt, I would just think how it looks like infinity signs, not symbols that say “Heil Hitler.”

As of now, the shirts for both men and women are still sold online in other countries, excluding the US. On the other hand, the men’s “Famous Graphic Hoodie” have been spotted in Modesto, California stores and have not been removed. All in all, Forever 21 has proved itself to be quite inadequate in designing clothes as they constantly spark controversy throughout the media. The company needs to be careful of what they sell out to the world.