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Girl in a jacket

Fashion brand removes ads after criticism about the design ‘resembling’ Gaza war photos

The famous Spanish fashion brand Zara pulled their advertising images when critics noticed it resembled recent photos showing the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

The images for Zara’s line of jackets included what the company called “unfinished sculptures in a sculptor’s studio.”  The campaign featured photos of model Kristen McMenamy standing in front of a broken drywall. Some shots showcased mannequins with limbs missing or wrapped in white fabric or plastic on the floor, that is oddly similar to body bags.

This campaign provoked a protest on social media with people comparing the images of the scenes from Gaza war. Some people noted that one of the pieces of the broken drywall looked an upside-down map of Palestine.

Zara posted an apology statement on Instagram this week and said that the campaign was conceived in July and photographed in September. This was a month before Hamas launched a series of attacks on Israel on October 7, 2023.


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A post shared by ZARA Official (@zara)

“Unfortunately, some customers felt offended by these images, which have now been removed, and saw in them something far from what was intended when they were created,” the fashion brand said in a statement on Instagram. “Zara regrets that misunderstanding and we reaffirm our deep respect towards everyone,” they added.

The company said that the campaign was created “with the sole purpose of showcasing craftmade garments in an artistic context.”

Zara acknowledged the offense critics made from the images and said these people “saw in them something far from what was intended when they were created.” They removed the ads after listening to the comments.

According to UK’s advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority, the campaign reportedly received 110 complaints.

Diet Prada, an Instagram page which calls for accountability in the fashion industry, posted the controversy and stated how the ad campaign divided the internet.


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A post shared by Diet Prada ™ (@diet_prada)

Some commenters acknowledge that the company may have thought and went through with the campaign before the hostilities began in October. They stated that Zara should have scrapped the ads after the conflict took place.

On the other hand, some said that they cannot see the connection between the campaign and the war and other people may have overanalyzed the photos too much.


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