Canceled: Balenciaga

by Camila Perez, Staff Writer

Luxury fashion brand, Balenciaga, is involved in a controversy related to its ad campaign, Gift Shop. The ads feature two child models: one standing with a teddy bear wearing black leather with chains, similar to “BDSM” apparel; while the other child modeled beside Supreme Court legal documents. Balenciaga filed a $25 million lawsuit, which has dropped since, against North Sox, Inc. and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins, regarding the controversial image featuring the court documents.

The two ad campaigns were rolled out for Balenciaga’s Christmas 2022 and Spring 2023 collections. The spring campaign featured an upcoming Balenciaga and Adidas collaboration. Recently, both Balenciaga and Adidas have had to cut ties with their brand partner, Kanye West, over his antisemitic comments. In support of the beleaguered fashion house, Kanye West, in a now deleted tweet stated, “I stand by Balenciaga and announce all witch hunts and I cancel cancel culture. Ending trafficking doesn’t start or end with a fashion campaign for Christ sake.”

The brand’s first response to the controversy was to apologize for the Gift Shop campaign, and promise to remove the advertisement from all social media platforms. 

Many celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, are reevaluating their future relationship with Balenciaga. In the interim, Balenciaga is trying to repair its public image. On December 2, Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna, addressed the controversial campaigns. “I want to personally apologize for the wrong artistic choice of concept for the gifting campaign with the kids and I take my responsibility,” he wrote on his Instagram account. “It was inappropriate to have kids promote objects that had nothing to do with them.”