Zara withdrew an ad campaign from its website and app, showcasing mannequins with missing limbs and statues draped in white. The move was followed by pro-Palestine protests, urging a boycott of the fashion brand.
Zara’s Instagram account saw tens of thousands of comments posted about the photos, many with Palestinian flags, while “#BoycottZara” was trending on social media platform X. In one of the photos, a model was seen carrying a mannequin wrapped in white, in another a bust lies on the floor and another features a mannequin with no arms. The pictures reportedly resembled photos of corpses in white shrouds in Gaza.
Inditex, which owns Zara, said the change was part of its normal procedure of refreshing content and said the “Atelier” collection was conceived in July and the photos were taken in September. Zara said at the launch of the collection on Dec. 7 that it was inspired by men’s tailoring from past centuries. The photos appear to show an artist studio with ladders, packing materials, wooden crates and cranes, and assistants wearing overalls.
The war between Israel and Hamas began after October 7. The current reaction shows the sensitivity international brands navigating as fighting across Gaza intensifies and calls for company boycotts rise. The photos, which featured on Zara’s online store home page on Monday morning, were no longer visible on the website or on its app. A link on the UK website to Zara Atelier led to a page showcasing last year’s collection.
It’s not the first time an advertising campaign has landed a fashion label in controversy. French luxury group Kering last year set up a group level position to oversee brand safety after advertising images from its label Balenciaga featuring children sparked a backlash that dented sales. Last year, Zara came under fire from some Palestinians and Israelis after the head of the retailer’s local franchise in Israel hosted a campaign event for an ultranationalist politician.