Zara, the Spanish retailer, is encountering widespread criticism following the release of an advertising campaign featuring statues with missing limbs surrounded by rubble. The images have sparked comparisons to the destruction in Gaza.
Zara stands as one of the wealthiest clothing retailers in the world, and its founder, Amancio Ortega, ranks as the 14th wealthiest individual globally, boasting an estimated net worth of US$75 billion.
In the campaign titled "The Jacket," Zara showcases model Kristen McMenamy posing alongside mannequins wrapped in white cloth and plastic. The retailer asserts that the campaign is a deliberate design choice aimed at highlighting the versatility of the garment.
However, public backlash ensued as the images were perceived as unsettling portrayals, including bodies wrapped in white body bags reminiscent of Islamic burial attire. The campaign also includes elements such as rocks, rubble, and a cardboard cutout resembling an upside-down map of Palestine.
Palestinian artist Hazem Harb expressed his dismay on Instagram, stating, “Using death and destruction as a backdrop for fashion is beyond sinister, its complicity [...] should outrage us as consumers. Boycott Zara.”
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The controversy has prompted many others to voice their frustration and anger, calling for a boycott of Zara due to perceived disrespect amid the situation in Gaza. Despite the public outcry, Zara has not issued a response or statement regarding the controversy. However some of the pictues have been deleted from their website and social media.
This is not the first time Zara has faced controversy.
In 2021, the company experienced a similar backlash after its head designer, Vanessa Perilman, made anti-Palestinian comments on social media.
“Maybe if your people were educated then they wouldn't blow up the hospitals and schools that Israel helped to pay for in Gaza,” Perilman had told Palestinian model Qaher Harhash on Instagram.
Zara's branches in occupied territories reportedly suffered significant financial losses due to the previous boycott, estimated at tens of millions of shekels within a short period.
Since October 7, many have joined the boycott campaign against several multinational brands for their links to Israel and in some cases their support for them.
The brands include McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks, and H&M, among others.