Today The Cut noticed that earlier this week, popular Spanish fashion blogger/designer/DJ Pelayo Diaz posted a stylized selfie from Berlin’s Holocaust memorial, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. He posted photos of himself leaning against the pillars of the memorial, listed his fashion credits (Davidelfin biker coat, American Apparel hoodie, Céline bag and Balenciaga shoes), and wrote that he “can’t really describe how it feels to walk between concrete blocks trying to reach the sky but the good thing is that is that it doesn’t make you think about the past, only the future, and that’s something I love being involved with.”
For obvious reason, the post has been met with backlash.
While some of his commenters liked his post (i.e. “Wow – the post & pictures turned out great. It was so freezing yet you look so chic and cool. And I am not getting tired of admiring your neon pink Céline!”) others objected thoughtfully. Oonagh Montague wrote, “I like your blog – and you appear to be a positive person. So I don’t think you’ll shut me down for reasonably asking if your loved ones had been tortured and killed – honestly, how would you feel if I turned up in my best outfit for a cracking good photo op at their memorial? 1.5 [million] murdered children. And that’s just the kids. Can you see why people might object?”
Jezebel was less understanding. “Visitors to Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe know the maze of concrete slabs is a powerful and thought-provoking site,” wrote Katie J.M. Baker. “For some fashion bloggers, the memorial is also a perf backdrop to show off your super cute hot pink purse and leather jacket!”
The Cut also pointed out that Pelayo’s not the only one to tone-deaf-ly make a fashion statement at the memorial. According to The Guardian, three years ago EasyJet pulled 300,000 copies of its inflight mag because it included a fashion feature using the Holocaust memorial as a backdrop.
Since the post went up, Pelayo has taken to Facebook to respond to the backlash:
Some people have been offended about the fact I took these pictures at the Holocaust Memorial for Katelovesme. I don’t think they are disrespectful or inappropriate in any way. Katelovesme is a place where I share most of my life and that monument really touched me, that´s why I´m not going to remove the post. I don´t think it’s necessary to say that I’m sickened by what the Nazis did and I apologize if I’ve hurt anybodies feelings, it was definitely not my intention. Loads of love, Pelayo
Do you buy his response? Or are you still appalled?
My first reaction when I saw this shit was less outraged and more frustrated. Like, “Oy vey. This is some serious Zoolander nonsense.” The problem here seems to be more of a disconnect, an obvliousness, than outright Antisemitism. I don’t know if that makes it any better. But sadly, this is a problem that plagues the fashion industry all too often.