Top fashion retailer H&M has been forced to apologize after being accused of releasing a new khaki jumpsuit similar to those worn by female Kurdish soldiers currently battling Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.
Social media was used on Monday by “dozens” of Kurds to protest the Swedish retailer’s jumpsuit design when it was released in its Autumn/Winter collection earlier this month, according to the Daily Mail.
The olive green garment was modeled with a high-waist belt and military boots.
It appears in the collection as one of its standout pieces. Many have spotted its similarity to the loose-fitting military attire worn by female fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), who have been fighting alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga.
“At times like these, they choose to capitalise from the brave kurdish fighters in Kurdistan. They should be ashamed of themselves!” one Facebook user named Arwin Banirad wrote on Facebook, adding that the move was “disgraceful.”
Another user, Ali Najat Barzinj, described the piece as his country’s “traditional uniform,” adding that “it is not for everyone. [sic]”
Another social media user suggested that H&M should consider giving some of the proceeds from the jumpsuit sales to the Kurdish fighters and their families, according to the Daily Mail.
In an apology, the retailer said it was “never” in its intention to mimic the Kurdish military style.
“We are truly sorry if we have offended anyone with this piece, this was of course never our intention,” H&M's global press officer, Ida Ståhlnacke, said in a statement. “At H&M we want to offer the latest within fashion and trends and we continuously listen to our customers’ requests.
“The last seasons we have seen an increasing demand on jumpsuits and therefore we currently offer a selection of jumpsuits in different colors and materials, such as denim blue and deep red.
“The jumpsuit in question is made in a light and comfortable material and is a part of a larger collection consisting of many garments in khaki green, which also is one of the trendiest colors this season.”
Kurdish female fighters have been making headlines recently following one combatant’s decision to shoot herself with a last bullet during fighting with militant, it was reported on Sunday.
Ceylan Ozalp, 19, was reportedly surrounded by ISIS fighters near the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane also known as Ain al-Arab. After she run out of ammunition Ozalp said “goodbye” over the radio and spent her last bullet on killing herself.
In a similar story on Sunday, another female Kurdish fighter carried out a suicide bomb attack against ISIS militants outside Kobane, a monitor said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the woman blew herself up at an ISIS position east of the city, killing a number of militants who have surrounded Kobane and are battling to seize it.