Fashion brand Zara has pulled an ad campaign after customers claimed the photos resembled recent images from the Israel-Gaza war.
Last Thursday, Zara released “The Jacket” ad campaign, which was photographed by Tim Walker and featured model Kristen McMenamy, to promote the fast fashion retailer’s Atelier line.
However, critics compared Zara’s photos to images of the destruction coming from Gaza and called the timing of the campaign insensitive — leading activists to call for a boycott of the retailer.
In some of the photos of the campaign, McMenamy is surrounded by debris as well as mannequins wrapped in white plastic shrouds and others with missing arms and legs — which some customers said looked like corpses.
The latest Zara campaign depicts what appears to be dead bodies wrapped in white body bags, reminiscent of traditional Muslim burial attire, as well rocks, dust and rubble.
Wtf were they thinking? This is intentional atp pic.twitter.com/IjH844e8jE
— ➳❥ (@VANITYxVAULT) December 9, 2023
Other critics drew comparisons between the cloth in the ad and a typical Muslim burial shroud. Some customers claimed that the content resembled recent images of grieving civilians taken by war photographers in Gaza.
According to The New York Times, social media users particularly compared Zara’s images to a photograph taken by Mohammed Salem for Reuters which showed a 36-year-old Palestinian woman named Inas Abu Maamar holding the body of her five-year-old niece, Saly, who was killed in an Israeli strike.
‘Some Customers Felt Offended By The Images’
In a statement on Instagram on Tuesday, Zara apologized for the images and said that it had removed the ad campaign after accusations that the photos resembled images of Palestinians in the rubble of Gaza.
The fast-fashion retailer explained that the campaign was photographed a month before the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7 and that the images were meant to resemble a sculptor’s studio.
“The campaign, that was conceived in July and photographed in September, presents a series of images of unfinished sculptures in a sculptor’s studio and was created with the sole purpose of showcasing craftmade garments in an artistic context,” Zara writes on Instagram.
“Unfortunately, some customers felt offended by these images, which have now been removed, and saw in them something far from what was intended when they were created,” according to the company’s statement.
“Zara regrets that misunderstanding and we reaffirm our deep respect towards everyone.”