Zara’s Campaign Sparks Outrage Over Gaza Comparisons
Spanish fashion giant Zara is embroiled in controversy following its latest advertising campaign, which has drawn stark comparisons to the devastation in Gaza. The campaign, named “The Jacket,” showcases model Kristen McMenamy amidst a backdrop of rubble and limbless statues, drawing widespread criticism and calls for a boycott.
Originally part of Zara’s Atelier series, aimed at celebrating craftsmanship and artistic expression, the campaign imagery quickly sparked outrage. Notably, Melanie Elturk, CEO of Haute Hijab, condemned the visuals, calling them “sick” and “twisted.” Similarly, Palestinian artist Hazem Harb criticized the campaign, urging consumers to boycott Zara, equating the use of destruction as a fashion backdrop to complicity in the suffering.
Instagram influencers Dr. Noor Amra and Dr. Hina Cheema, alongside Mona Kattan of Huda Beauty, echoed these sentiments, accusing Zara of mocking Palestinian suffering.
Tim Walker’s photography, under the art direction of Baron & Baron, featured McMenamy in various jackets against a stark white setting with wooden crates and concrete debris. The inclusion of statues and mannequins wrapped in white cloth and plastic added to the eerie resemblance to scenes from conflict zones. Following the backlash, Zara removed several images from its website and social media platforms, including one particularly contentious image of McMenamy next to a plastic-wrapped mannequin.
As of now, Zara has not officially responded to the controversy. The backlash comes on the heels of another incident involving Zara’s Israeli franchise owner, Joey Schwebel, who hosted far-right politician Itamar Ben Gvir, sparking calls for a boycott in Israel.
Zara, founded in Spain in 1975, operates over 2,000 stores in more than 90 countries. This latest controversy highlights the fine line between artistic creativity and cultural sensitivity in fashion advertising.
Ntianu Obiora is a versatile creative professional with over a decade of experience in publishing, marketing, communications, and digital strategy. She is the Online Editor at THEWILL DOWNTOWN