Retail

Uniqlo has a jacket that looks like Chairman Mao's, but it says it's just a coincidence

Key Points
  • Uniqlo has a new spring jacket with has four large square pockets. Some say it resembles the uniform worn by Mao Zedong.
  • A representative for Uniqlo told South China Morning Post that "any resemblance" is "purely coincidental."
  • The company, owned by Fast Retailing, describes the jacket as an "iconic military jacket" that is part of its "progressive essentials" collection.
Uniqlo says its new spring jacket was not inspired by Mao Zedong.
Corbis Historical | Getty Images | Uniqlo

Uniqlo's new spring jacket is loose fitting, made of light cotton, has four large square pockets and, some say, bares too close a resemblance to the uniform often worn by the late Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong.

"Any resemblance that customers or people on the web have commented on is purely coincidental," Aldo Liguori, a representative for the clothing company, which is owned by Fast Retailing, told the South China Morning Post. "That was never in our minds when we designed the item."

The arguable similarity of its new jacket and Mao's uniform was pointed out by Twitter users. Some argued it also evoked the clothing worn by North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.

The jacket, which the company calls its "men u fatique jacket" comes in khaki, black and navy. It describes the jacket, which retails for $69.90 as an "iconic military jacket" that is part of its "progressive essentials" collection.

Uniqlo is not the only retailer to have stumbled with apparel with potentially concerning similarities. Burberry this month unveiled a sweatshirt on a runway with a rope that some said evoked a noose. Burberry apologized and said it will not offer the sweatshirt for sale.

Also this month, Gucci apologized for a turtleneck sweater that could be pulled up over the nose and had a red cutout for the mouth that some said resembled blackface makeup.