Fashion chain Zara withdraws swastika handbag

MADRID Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:29pm EDT

A customer looks at outfits at a Zara shop in Shanghai January 9, 2007. REUTERS/Aly Song

A customer looks at outfits at a Zara shop in Shanghai January 9, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Aly Song

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish fashion chain Zara has withdrawn a handbag from its stores after a customer in Britain complained swastikas were embroidered on it.

Zara, owned by the world's second largest fashion retailer Inditex, said it did not know the 39 pound ($78) handbag had green swastikas on its corners.

The bags were made by a supplier in India and inspired by commonly used Hindu symbols, which include the swastika. The original design approved by Zara did not have swastikas on it, Inditex said.

"After the return of one bag we decided to withdraw the whole range," said a spokesman for Inditex, which has more than 3,330 stores in 66 countries.

Zara pulled the bags after 19-year-old Rachel Hatton told Britain's Daily Mail she asked for a refund when she spotted swastikas on her bag.

"The shop assistants were quite shocked as well to find out this symbol was on there," she told BBC radio.

A British anti-fascism group said the bags were an attempt to legitimize fascism and the Daily Star tabloid newspaper ran a picture of Adolf Hitler next to its story headlined, "Fury over Nazi Fashion Bags."

The swastika is an ancient religious symbol for Hindus and Buddhists, and has represented the sun, strength and good luck to many groups around the world.

Since its adoption by the Nazi Party in 1920, people in the West have associated the swastika with Nazi dictator Hitler.

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