Why does everyone hate Zara? Oversight of the 2023 Palestine fashion campaign controversy amid calls for widespread boycott

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Why are people mad at Zara? 2023 Palestine fashion campaign controversy explained amid mass boycott calls

Zara, a multinational apparel chain based in Spain, faced criticism recently after its latest advertising campaign went viral. Model Kristen McMenamy appears in the campaign, dubbed “The Jacket,” which is a part of the brand’s Collection 4 Atelier series.

She is seen carrying a mannequin covered in white fabric, and there are other white-clad mannequins scattered around that seem to be missing limbs. The photographs in the fashion campaign also feature rubble, with one plasterboard in particular purportedly having the shape of the map of Palestine in the background.

The fashion campaign photos caused a stir when they appeared online, and people have since started comparing the image in the advertisement with photos from Gaza during the Israel-Hamas conflict. Given their irrationality, many have gone so far as to demand a widespread boycott of Zara, with the hashtag #boycottzara currently trending.

“I will never, ever, buy anything from Zara, ever again”: The clothing retailer is facing harsh criticism on social media for their purported campaign with a Gaza theme.

Zara’s latest collection was unveiled last week through a contentious ad campaign that allegedly featured images resembling the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

The model Kristen McMenamy is wearing a jacket that the brand is promoting heavily, but the picture of her holding a mannequin covered in white cloth has angered and outraged social media users because they saw a similarity to images of dead bodies in Gaza.

Zara also found itself in hot water when more photos of the model inside wooden boxes that resembled coffin pictures started to circulate online from Palestinian mass graves. In one picture, there was even a plywood that resembled the Palestinian map.

Calls to boycott Zara after designer's anti-Palestinian rant

The campaign images gained enough online traction after going viral that people are now calling for a boycott of the company and the hashtag #boycottzara is trending across all social media sites. Many have gone so far as to demand that customers never again purchase anything from the retailer, and they have also promised to do the same.

In an effort to demonstrate the similarity, many people have actually placed the campaign photos next to actual photos from Gaza. Here are a few of X’s (previously Twitter) responses to this.

Not all of Zara’s Instagram posts from the most recent ad campaign have been removed as of yet.

Although promoting the newest jacket lineup may have been the campaign’s main goal, it’s still unclear if it had any deeper meaning. To date, the brand has not released a clarification statement.

Following the most recent controversy, online detectives have also uncovered a divisive message sent by the brand’s chief womenswear designer, Vanessa Perilman, to a male Palestinian model in 2021.

In reaction to Qaher Harhash’s pro-Palestine posts, Perilman informed him via Instagram Direct Message (DM). “Maybe if your people were educated, then they wouldn’t blow up hospitals and schools that Israel helped to pay for in Gaza,” a self-described pro-Israel supporter said to the Palestinian model.

Back then, there was a lot of online outrage directed towards Vanessa, with many calling for the brand to be canceled in addition to her dismissal from the prominent position. Afterwards, she apologized in public to Qaher Harhash.

Zara controversies over the years

For those who are unaware, the brand has been embroiled in a number of scandals in recent years. For example, BBC News reported in 2016 that they had found evidence of child labor and exploitation in Turkish factories.

Similarly, in 2014, the brand was accused of printing the Swastike on a bag’s design seven years after numerous media outlets, including the BBC, revealed that it sold children’s clothes that resembled that of Holocaust prisoners. Moreover, the business ignited disputes regarding copyright infringement in 2016 and 2018.

In the company’s hometown of Arteixo, Galicia, Spain, thousands of workers went on strike last year ahead of Black Friday, demanding better pay.

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