Fashion retailer Zara issued a statement expressing regret on Tuesday (12 Dec) regarding a recent ad campaign that generated controversy due to what the brand termed a “misunderstanding.”
The campaign featured statues draped in white, which led to calls for a boycott from pro-Palestinian activists and the subsequent removal of the images by Zara.
The images, posted on Zara’s Instagram account, sparked tens of thousands of complaints, with many likening them to photos of shrouded corpses from Gaza, resulting in the trending hashtag “#BoycottZara” on social media platform X.
Intended to highlight the design versatility of a jacket, the campaign sparked controversy due to its perceived insensitivity and inappropriate use of imagery reminiscent of the ongoing situation in Gaza.
The stark portrayal in the campaign drew striking parallels to the destruction and suffering witnessed in Gaza, eliciting sharp condemnation from various quarters.
Critics raised concerns about the apparent trivialization of Palestinian death and suffering, as the representations of bodies wrapped in white closely resembled traditional Muslim burial shrouds.
Zara expresses regret amidst Gaza war-related campaign backlash
Zara addressed the backlash through an Instagram post, acknowledging the unintended offence caused by the images.
The campaign, featuring mannequins with missing limbs and statues wrapped in white, was conceptualized in July and photographed in September.
Zara clarified that the intention was to depict unfinished sculptures in a sculptor’s studio.
In an Instagram post, Zara acknowledged the unintended offence caused by the images, emphasizing that they were created solely to showcase craft-made garments in an artistic context.
Expressing regret for the misunderstanding, Zara reaffirmed its deep respect for everyone impacted by the campaign.
The company took action by removing six posts from its Instagram page.
Its parent company, Inditex (ITX.MC), confirmed that the photos had been withdrawn from all platforms.
Acknowledging the concerns raised, Zara clarified that the images were never intended to evoke the emotional response they garnered.
The brand emphasized its regret for any offence caused, reiterating the original artistic intention behind the campaign.
Zara had already taken steps to address the controversy by pulling “The Jacket” photoshoot from its website and app home pages on Monday.
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