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Zara, a major player in the fast fashion industry, is being urged to be boycotted due to their recent advertising campaign that showcases mannequins without limbs and surrounded by debris. This imagery has been compared to the distressing photos coming out of the conflict-stricken Gaza region.
On Monday, December 11th, the hashtag #BoycottZara became popular on X, previously known as Twitter, as people on social media criticized the brand for their recent fashion campaign, “The Jacket”, which starred supermodel Kristen McMenamy.
Several users of X noticed the similarities in the distressing images emerging from Gaza, where the death toll has reached almost 18,000 as a result of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
In one photograph, McMenamy can be seen carrying a mannequin draped in white cloth. In other pictures, the American model was photographed posing amid rubble, inside wooden boxes, surrounded by statues – some of which are missing limbs.
The photo shoots, labeled as “tone-deaf,” have faced backlash for drawing comparisons to victims of war who are traditionally covered in a simple white cloth as part of Islamic customs.
The criticism against Inditex, the parent company of Zara, has gone unanswered. The Independent did not receive a response to their request for comment.
According to an insider familiar with Zara’s plans, the campaign was premeditated: “Unfortunately, the timing was not ideal.”
Images showing a comparison of the retailer’s campaign and the ongoing war in Gaza were extensively shared on the micro-blogging site, with many expressing criticism towards the company for its lack of sensitivity. The conflict in Gaza has been ongoing for three months.
Palestinian artist Hazem Harb expressed his outrage on Instagram regarding the use of death and destruction as a fashion backdrop, stating that it is not only sinister but also complicit, which should anger us as consumers.
Zaskia Sungkar, a popular Indonesian actor and fashion designer with 31 million followers on Instagram, announced her departure from Zara with the message “Goodbye Zara”.
Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, a journalist, stated that Zara is the most tone deaf brand of the year, according to him.
A different tweet stated: “The Zara brand’s advertising campaign ridicules the suffering of the oppressed Palestinians and their martyrs. We should all refuse to support this hypocritical and insensitive brand.”
On Sunday (9 December), reports emerged of calls to boycott Zara due to their “tone-deaf” fashion campaign, which sparked backlash after being shared online.
Activists in Montreal, Canada vandalized Zara stores by spray-painting pro-Palestine slogans, as reported by iNews.
According to a source familiar with Zara, the campaign was premeditated: “It may have been poorly timed.”
The clothing company refers to its controversial new campaign as a “special collection from the brand that showcases our dedication to quality workmanship and love for creative self-expression.”
During the recent uproar, certain individuals on social media brought up past remarks from Zara’s Vanessa Perilman, which were sent to Palestinian model Qaher Harhash on Instagram two years ago.
Harhash, a supporter of Palestine, posted pictures of conversations between himself and Perilman after the violent 11-day clash between Israel and Hamas in 2021.
Perilman and Zara received backlash on the internet after Zara sent Harhash a message saying, “Perhaps if your community was better educated, they wouldn’t destroy the hospitals and schools that Israel funded in Gaza.”
Your people do not teach children to hate or throw stones at soldiers, unlike Israelis.
During the incident, Inditex, the parent company of Zara, publicly denounced Perilman’s statements and emphasized their stance against any form of disrespect towards cultures, religions, countries, races, or beliefs.
Zara, a company valued at $120 billion, promotes diversity and does not tolerate any form of discrimination. The company strongly denounces the comments made, as they go against their fundamental values of mutual respect. They apologize for any harm caused by these remarks.
The Independent has reached out to Zara representatives for a response.