Fashion house Zara is facing a backlash over a campaign using mannequins with missing limbs surrounded by rubble, which has been condemned as disrespectful to Palestinians killed in the ongoing conflict with Israel in Gaza.
Critics say the ‘tone deaf’ photographs used by the Spanish retailer recall the bombardment which has led to an estimated 18,000 deaths with calls for a boycott of the brands prolific on social media.
Carole Tahan, a Lebanese Canadian writer, wrote on X: ‘Zara’s newest ad campaign is mocking dead Palestinians. Boycott them.’
In some images, the model Kirsten McMenamy poses with mannequins wrapped in white cloth and plastic, amidst claims these resemble the way that bodies of dead people have been wrapped in cloth by Palestinians.
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 posted on Instagram; ‘Using death and destruction as a backdrop for fashion is beyond sinister, it’s complicity and should outrage us as consumers.’
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 US model McMenamy wearing a series of jackets and standing in a white room, surrounded by white crates and rubble with a particular plasterboard in the background resembling the map of Palestine..
Some statues are missing limbs and have been wrapped up in white cloth.
This isn’t the first time the Spanish retailer has come under scrutiny for insensitive imagery on its clothing. The brand previously faced calls for boycott after debuting a pair of children’s pyjamas that resembled Holocaust concentration camp uniforms in 2015.
The incident followed another major questionable design choice where the clothing giant released a line of purses with swastikas in 2007.
The recent boycott calls against the retailer accused of supporting Israel’s genocide in Palestine, are gaining steam after social media users unearthed old inflammatory texts sent to a male Palestinian model by the retailer’s head designer, Vanessa Perilman, in 2021. Part of the text allegedly read:
‘Maybe if your people were educated, then they wouldn’t blow up hospitals and schools that Israel helped to pay for in Gaza,’ she said.
Zara has not yet offered any official statement addressing the claims. However, the most controversial picture from the ad campaign featuring McMenamy holding a ‘body’ wrapped in white sheets appears to have been removed from the label’s Instagram and X.