Dolce & Gabanna may have just released its first abaya collection, but H&M took things in a more Jewish direction and released the “tallit scarf.”
The scarf, which was sold on the H&M website, retailed for $17.99, closely resembles a tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl, with its own version of tzitzit, the knotted fringe found on every tallit, as the scarf comes with “fringe at the short ends.” In addition, while not a requirement of tallitot, many come in the same pattern and similar color scheme as the scarf, which is blue or black stripes on white or cream cloth.
Over the weekend, H&M apologized for the scarf, according to Vogue UK, saying in a statement, “We are truly sorry if we have offended anyone with this piece. Everyone is welcome at H&M and we never take a religious or political stand. Stripes are one of the trends for this season and something we were inspired by. Our intention was never to upset anyone.”
However, many people were greatly upset by the scarf and took to H&M’s Facebook page to complain about the scarf, which they said was disrespectful, and to criticize the company.
The scarf is still for sale on the H&M site, but the company said that the stock had run out in some countries because only a limited number of the scarf was made. The scarf is no longer available on the Israeli H&M site, where it was sold for NIS 99. However, the scarf quickly sold out in the US.
According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, this scarf was not H&M’s first foray into Jewish inspired fashion: in 2011, H&M sold a women’s poncho that was in the same style as the scarf. However, in 2014, H&M was accused of anti-Semitism when it sold a tank top with a skull superimposed over a Star of David.
In November 2015, leading fashion and lifestyle magazine Vogue said that the ultra-Orthodox layering style was “an unlikely inspiration for Fall 2015’s sexiest trend.”