Renowned fashion brand Zara pulled an advertising campaign featuring mannequins with missing appendages and statues wrapped in white from the front page of its website and app on Monday after it prompted calls by some pro-Palestinian activists for a boycott of the fashion retailer.
Spanish fashion label Zara has been forced to remove a series of photographs from its website and app after they sparked outrage among Palestinian communities. The images, which feature models posing with mannequins wrapped in white, were criticized for their resemblance to shrouds worn by victims of the conflict in Gaza. The photos were part of Zara’s latest “Atelier” collection, a range inspired by men’s tailoring from past centuries. The collection is one of Zara’s most expensive, with prices ranging from $229 to $799.
Following the controversy, Zara issued a statement apologizing for any offense caused. The company said that the collection was conceived in July, with the photos taken in September, well before the recent conflict in Gaza intensified. Zara also emphasized that it was not commenting on the boycott calls but apologized for any misunderstanding caused.
The boycott campaign, which saw the hashtag “#Boycott Zara” trend on messaging platform X, highlights the challenges faced by international brands as they navigate heightened sensitivities in the current global climate. Zara is not the first fashion label to have faced controversy over advertising campaigns. Last year, French luxury group Kering was forced to establish a new group-level position to oversee brand safety after images from its label Balenciaga featuring children sparked a backlash that dented sales.
The controversy surrounding Zara’s Atelier collection also follows a similar incident last year, when the head of the retailer’s local franchise in Israel hosted an event for an ultranationalist politician. The move prompted criticism from both Palestinian and Israeli communities.
As brands continue to face scrutiny over their advertising campaigns, the Zara controversy serves as a reminder of the importance of being sensitive to cultural, religious, and political issues.