Laura Fávero Silva
Noticed by their own public, in Balenciaga’s last Campaign, the company released ads featuring children holding a teddy bear handbag wearing a bondage harness. The images were seen as sexual exploitation of children.
“Balenciaga” has been known as a luxury fashion line since the decades of 1919 in Spain. The company is currently being criticized for the sexual nature of ads and concerns over promoting child pornography and teh sexualisation of children.An advertisement for a handbag that costs between $3,450 and $4,000 has led to scathing criticism for the fashion company's most recent campaign.
The campaign was meant to promote the fashion brand’s 2023 Spring/Summer collection for Paris Fashion Week. However, the teddy bear bags were accessorised with fishnet clothing, leather harnesses, and metal collars. Social media users quickly began to angrily question why children were being involved in a campaign that featured items associated with BDSM-like sexual fetishes.
The advertisement showed the bag placed on top of papers on an office desk, along with what seemed to be a 2008 Supreme Court decision on a child pornography case.
Balenciaga has removed all the controversial ads from all its platforms and issued an apology. “We strongly condemn child abuse; it was never our intent to include it in our narrative,” the company stated via instagram. “The two separate ad campaigns in question reflect a series of grievous errors for which Balenciaga takes responsibility,” Balenciaga said.
The company was also noticed due to two campaigns featuring documents about child sexual abuse law as a prop during their ads. One campaign concerned the "Garde Robe Photoshoot" in which actors pickled by the company posed in Manhattan offices. Their public then spotted paperwork on a desk under a $2,800 handbag from the US supreme court case interrogating if legislation prohibiting images of child sexual assault restrict free expression.
All of the objects used in the photoshoot, according to Balenciaga, "were provided by third parties who acknowledged in writing that these props were phoney office documents." They were authentic legal documents, most likely produced during the production of a television show.
The other concerned campaign shot was a coffee table book by Michael Borremans named “Fire from the Sun”. It included images of naked toddlers.
Opposed to the scandal, artists such as kim kardashian, balenciaga’s brand ambassador who ran July’s “Haute Couture” runway show in Paris states that she is “re-evaluating” her relationship with the brand. Kim states that “as a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images”.