Creating new perspectives since 2009

Zara sparks outrage with disrespectful collection amid tragedy in Gaza

Zara faces severe criticism for a campaign resembling the genocide in Gaza. The campaign, posted on Zara’s social media accounts, featured statues with missing limbs amidst a backdrop of rubble, with mannequins wrapped in shrouds. Calls to boycott Zara intensified as social media users demanded accountability for the campaign deemed disrespectful and offensive.

December 11, 2023 at 9:48 am

Fashion retailer Zara is once again facing boycott calls after it released its most recent advertising campaign which many have said “mocks” Palestinians being ethnically cleansed in Gaza.

The photoshoot for its 2024 Atelier range featured mannequins wrapped in white fabric resembling the bodies of Palestinians in shrouds ready for burial and models positioned among debris from freight boxes, resembling war wreckage in Gaza.

Almost 18,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s genocidal bombing campaign on the besieged enclave, nearly 40 per cent are children.

Although Zara claims that the campaign emphasises design, the displayed images have triggered a significant backlash, prompting social media users to advocate for a boycott of the brand.

“ZARA’s recent campaign exploiting a genocide & commodifying Palestine pain for profit is disgusting. Shame on you brand ZARA for stooping so low, prioritising greed over humanity & pretending it was harmless. Deleting posts afterward magnifies awareness of harm,” read a post on X.

Journalist Ahmed Eldin wrote: “And the award for most tone deaf brand of the year goes to ZARA. Using imagery of Israel’s genocide of Palestinians to sell their fast fashion brand of clothing.”

According to Zara, the series is a “limited edition collection celebrating our commitment to craftsmanship and passion for artistic expression.”

Several users also noted that one of the plasterboard pieces in the background of the images resembles the map of Palestine.

Dr Mian wrote: “ZARA is mocking Muslims and the genocide carried out by Israel in Gaza in its latest campaign including what appears to be bodies wrapped in a white body bag reminiscent of traditional Muslim burial attire.”

“The campaign also features rocks, rubble, and a cardboard cut-out resembling the map of Palestine. It is time to boycott Zara. Enough is enough.”

Palestinian artist Hazem Harb wrote on Instagram: “Using death and destruction as a backdrop for fashion is beyond sinister, it’s complicity and should outrage us as consumers, boycott Zara.”

Influencers Noor Amra and Hina Cheema also shared a message on Instagram expressing disgust at Zara’s images: “We have all seen the devastating images of shrouded bodies coming out of Gaza. It’s clearly a deliberate mock to Palestinians. They know exactly what they are doing.”

In response to the post, Mona Kattan, the president of Huda Beauty, commented, “Sick.”

Following the backlash, the company has removed posts featuring the images, but no official statement has been issued regarding the advertising campaign.

This is not the first time Zara has faced condemnation related to Palestine. Calls to boycott Zara were made last year after the fashion brand hosted a campaign event for far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir. His meeting with Joey Schwebel, chair of Zara’s Israel franchisee Trimera, sparked a backlash, with some people burning Zara items.

While in 2021, the brand’s Head Designer, Vanessa Perilman, attacked Palestinian model Qaher Harhash on Instagram. In her hateful messages to Harhash, Perilman defended Israel’s war crimes, reproaching the Palestinian people and the Muslim faith in her attack.

“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 wrote to Harhash, who is from occupied East Jerusalem.

READ: You’ve reached a dead end