the biggest failures of fashion brands

Balenciaga has made a specialty of provocation.

Hypersexualization of children, racism, sexism… With their advertising campaigns, several fashion brands have burned their wings causing great controversy.

Balenciaga is used to shocking and sometimes has to back down. In its latest ad campaign, the Kering luxury brand featured kids with bags full of teddy bears in bondage outfits. The photos sparked a flurry of criticism on Twitter. The brand, accused of sexualizing children by adopting the codes of sadomasochism, has finally made its mark my fault and withdrew his campaign.

Kim Kardashian, Balenciaga’s green muse

Balenciaga does not hesitate to navigate the codes of the moment. For the launch of its autumn-winter collection, the brand has chosen to highlight current issues, namely global warming and the war in Ukraine. To embody this campaign, the house has set its sights on Kim Kardashian, a businesswoman little known for her ecological commitment. Especially when she travels the world on her own private jet.

Torn sneakers sold for 1,450 euros

In May 2022, Balenciaga (again!) launched a line of sneakers rebranded as “Paris Sneakers”. The pair, in worn and more or less torn canvas, was sold for the modest sum of 1,450 euros. A paradox that has not failed to make the AbbĂ© Pierre Foundation react.

We will also remember the bags of the luxury brand that looked like a garbage bag and an Ikea bag.

Gucci’s “blackface” sweater

Gucci caused a stir in 2019 with a black turtleneck that ramped up to reveal oversized red lips. This scheme is reminiscent of Blackface, a racist caricature that consists of making up black people to make fun of them. Faced with the wave of criticism, the Italian brand has finally apologized and withdrew the sweater from sale.

The “coolest monkey” sweater by H&M

Ready-to-wear brand H&M riled up internet users with two pieces released in 2018. In the children’s catalogue, we could see a black boy wearing a flocked sweater with the message “the coolest monkey in the jungle” (translate “the most beautiful monkey in the forest”). The garment was all the more shocking as another child, this time white, was wearing the “survival expert” sweater. The brand ended up apologizing.

Adidas sneakers accused of racism

Designer Jeremy Scott explained in the aftermath who was inspired by a stuffed animal called My Pet Monster to create these shoes. But most netizens found that the chain attached to Adidas sneakers is more like the slave chain. The brand that posted the photo of its new pair on its Facebook page in June has finally given up on distributing them in stores.



Zara’s “yellow star” t-shirt

The yellow star was meant to represent a sheriff’s star, but many saw it as the star worn by Jews during World War II. The thin blue stripes drawn on this white T-Shirt intended for children aged 3 months to 3 years also recall the clothes of concentration camp deportees. Shortly after the controversy began in 2014, Zara apologized and withdrew the products from sale.

Petit Bateau’s sexist leotard

Blue for boys, pink for girls. But the sexism noticed by Internet users doesn’t stop there. In its leotards launched in 2011, the Petit Bateau brand has chosen to inscribe the adjectives “brave, proud, strong, valiant, robust, astute, skilful, determined, mischievous, cool” on the boys’ leotards and “pretty, stubborn, fun, sweet, greedy, coquettish, in love, cute, elegant, beautiful” on that of the girls. Faced with the outcry, the brand insisted and signed: “These products, marketed in large retailers, will not be withdrawn from the market because we see no intention of damaging or projecting a false image of women.”



Urban Outfitters and its damn sweater

In 2014, clothing brand Urban Outfitters caused a scandal when it released a pink sweater that read “Kent State University” in red stain. The sweater was referring to the tragedy of May 4, 1970 that took place at this American university. Four students demonstrating against President Nixon’s policies were killed by the Ohio National Guard.

Urban Outfitters has also caused a wave of protest with its “Eat less” T-shirt accused of supporting anorexia or its “Depression” clothing, criticized for trivializing the discourse around this mental illness.

VIDEO – Balenciaga: the brand’s new model looks like a garbage bag, but costs a fortune

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