Courtesy Gap

The Fashion World's Most Insulting Miscalculations

  1. Gap’s “Manifest Destiny” Shirt
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    Gap’s “Manifest Destiny” Shirt

    Gap’s (GPS) “Manifest Destiny” shirt sparked outrage among Native American groups, as the phrase was used to describe the 19th century belief in the U.S.’s innate right to expand its rule westward across the whole of North American territory. The company responded on Oct. 15 that it will no longer offer the T-shirt in stores or online. Gap’s misjudgment is only the latest among many in fashion.

    Courtesy Gap
  2. D&G’s Moorish Woman
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    D&G’s Moorish Woman

    During Milan Fashion Week in September, Dolce & Gabbana unveiled earrings and dresses featuring a black woman carrying fruit and flowers on her head. While the luxury designer explained that they refer to Moorish artifacts in Sicily, many already deemed them racist.

    Photograph by Victor Virgil/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
  3. Jean Paul Gaultier’s Amy Winehouse Tribute
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    Jean Paul Gaultier’s Amy Winehouse Tribute

    Just months after the singer’s death in 2011, JPG revealed an Amy Winehouse-inspired collection at Paris Fashion Week, which included beehive hairdos and red lips. Winehouse’s father said the show was “in bad taste” and upset the family. The French designer responded that he meant no offense and intended for the show to be a tribute.

    Photograph by Dominique Charriau/WireImage/Getty Images
  4. Victoria’s Secret’s Geisha Teddy
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    Victoria’s Secret’s Geisha Teddy

    The lingerie maker described its new “Sexy Little Geisha” teddy as “your ticket to an exotic adventure.” After complaints about stereotyping and hypersexualizing Asian women quickly circulated, Victoria’s Secret (LTD) pulled the item in September.

    Courtesy Victorias Secret
  5. Madhouse’s Sexist Chinos
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    Madhouse’s Sexist Chinos

    The care instructions on chinos at British retailer Madhouse conclude with the suggestion “Give it to your woman. It’s her job.” Madhouse responded to the Telegraph in March, “The wording was not instigated or ordered by Madhouse. The wording is clearly meant as a joke but now it has been pointed out to us it is something we will need to be more careful about in the future.”

    Photograph by SSPL/Getty Images
  6. “Too Pretty to Do Homework” at J.C. Penney
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    “Too Pretty to Do Homework” at J.C. Penney

    In 2011, J.C. Penney (JCP) shoppers found a long-sleeved shirt for girls aged 7 to 16 that read: “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.” The company removed the shirt from its website and told Change.org, “Our merchandise is intended to appeal to a broad customer base, not to offend them,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

    Courtesy JCPenny
  7. Topman’s Girlfriend “Breed” Shirts
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    Topman’s Girlfriend “Breed” Shirts

    “Nice new girlfriend—what breed is she?” read one shirt at British men’s clothing chain Topman. Another read, “I’m so sorry, but ... You provoked me; I was drunk; I was having a bad day; I hate you; I didn’t mean it; I couldn’t help it.” The company pulled the shirts in 2011.

    Photograph by Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg
  8. Cotton On’s “Tits Man” Babywear
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    Cotton On’s “Tits Man” Babywear

    In 2009, babywear at Australian retailer Cotton On donned messages such as “I’m a tits man,” “I’m living proof my mum is easy,” and “They Shake Me." The company apologized and withdrew the items, reported the Australian.

    Courtesy Cotton On
  9. Target’s Neo-Nazi Reference
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    Target’s Neo-Nazi Reference

    In 2002, Target (TGT) recalled caps and shorts with the number 88 on them, which is evidently a neo-Nazi reference for “Heil Hitler.” “It is not our intent to carry any merchandise that promotes hate,” the company said in a statement.

    Photograph by Jason Kempin/Redux
  10. Urban Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch
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    Urban Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch

    These retailers have offended customers on more than one occasion, with products such as Urban Outfitters’ (URBN) faux Navajo wear or Abercrombie’s (ANF) “Two Wongs Can Make It White” tees. (Click to see other examples.)

    Courtesy Urban Outfitters