Everything You Need To Know About The Balenciaga Controversy
A recap of what has happened so far.
Happy December everyone! The holiday season has officially started, but the most magical time of the year might not be as magical for the Spanish luxury brand Balenciaga. Instead of Christmas shopping, we imagine them being preoccupied with some serious damage control after their recent scandal.
When you take it one step too far, it doesn’t matter that your label reads Balenciaga, and, in my opinion, such questionable actions should not be forgotten quickly. So, let’s have a look at what has happened so far:
October 3rd, Paris Fashion Week
At the PFW show of the Spring/Summer 2023 Collection, the now infamous teddy bear made its first appearance. At the time, a BDSM-geared teddy, blood-filled handbags, and young baby dolls garnered nothing more than mixed reviews. Unfortunately, looking back at the show from today’s perspective, the innocence meets violence approach is deeply disturbing.
November 16th, The “Gift Shop” Campaign is launched
The “Gift Shop” Campaign is where the BDSM-themed teddy made a reappearance, as it was showcased alongside a selection of children. Together with dangerously violent imagery, in the brand’s follow-up campaign, the “Garde-Robe,” we were presented with “office” themed pictures that featured a selection of documents, including references to child pornography!
November 24th, Balenciaga releases the first statement
One week after the unveiling of the “Gift Shop” Campaign, Balenciaga decided to address the controversy by blaming other parties involved in the campaign. What is worse than putting out a controversial campaign? Not standing up for something you are clearly responsible for. It is hard for us to believe that a brand of such scale, with probably one of the most renowned marketing teams, failed to notice that such documents were on display. (Read the statements in our previous article about the Balenciaga controversy).
November 27th, Kim Kardashian breaks her silence
I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened.— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) November 27, 2022
The most recent face of the brand, Kim Kardashian, also stated on Instagram and Twitter, saying: “I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns.” Instead, she claimed she wanted to let the brand discuss the situation personally and reevaluate her future relationship with the brand, “basing it off their willingness to accept accountability.”
November 28th, Second statement
Balenciaga posts a second statement on Instagram, stating that they “take full accountability for [their] lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background” and that they “could have done things differently.” Hell yeah!
Therefore, Balenciaga will be revising its organization and collective ways of working. Finally, their last message was that they want to learn from their mistakes and that they apologize sincerely for the offense they have caused.
The question remains, in the season of forgiveness, will we ever be able to forgive Balenciaga for this?