MADRID – Fashion giant Zara is facing a backlash over a campaign using mannequins with missing limbs surrounded by rubble, which has been condemned as disrespectful to the Palestinians.
Critics say the “tone deaf” photographs published by the Spanish retailer recall the bombardment of Gaza by Israeli forces, with some calling for a boycott of the brand.
In some images, the model Kirsten McMenamy poses with mannequins wrapped in white cloth and plastic.
Observers claimed these resembled the way that bodies of dead people have been wrapped in cloth by Palestinians in Gaza.
The criticism started in countries in the Middle East where Zara operates, and calls to boycott the brand have now spread on social media.
In Montreal, Canada, activists sprayed Zara stores with pro-Palestinian slogans.
Sarah Wilkinson, a British social media influencer who campaigns for the Palestinian cause, wrote on the social media platform X: “Boycott Zara after its new clothing collection features rubble and bodies, mocking the 1,000s of Palestinians being massacred by Israelis in Gaza.”
Palestinian artist Hazem Harb commented on the campaign and called for a boycott of the brand. “Using death and destruction as a backdrop for fashion is beyond sinister, it’s complicity and should outrage us as consumers,” Mr Harb said in an Instagram post.
Journalist Ahmed Shihab-Eldin said that Zara had won “the award for most tone deaf brand of the year”.
The campaign, named The Jacket, is described by Zara as a “limited edition collection from the house celebrating our commitment to craftsmanship and passion for artistic expression”.
The images feature the US model Ms McMenamy wearing a series of jackets and standing in a white room, surrounded by white crates and rubble.
Some statues are missing limbs and structures have been wrapped up in white cloth.
Carole Tahan, a Lebanese Canadian writer, wrote on X: “Zara’s newest ad campaign is mocking dead Palestinians. Boycott them.”
Despite the row, the images have not been removed from the Zara website.
Inditex, the parent company of Zara, has not commented on the criticism of its campaign.
i did not receive a response to a request for comment.
A source close to Zara said: “These campaigns are planned a long way in advance. Perhaps this was very bad timing.”