Zara Apologizes and 'Regrets Misunderstanding' for Controversial Ad Campaign Likened to Gaza Imagery

While pulling the campaign, Zara clarified that it "was created with the sole purpose of showcasing craft-made garments in an artistic context."

Jeremy Moeller / Getty Images

Fashion retailer Zara has pulled a recent advertisement campaign following public outcry.

The controversial Images showed mannequins wrapped in plastic, rubble, and destroyed plaster, with some accusing Zara of depicting the Israel/Gaza war for profit.

“The campaign…presents a series of images of unfinished sculptures in a sculptor’s studio and was created with the sole purpose of showcasing craft-made garments in an artistic context,” Zara wrote in a statement, which was published to Instagram on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, some customers felt offended by these images, which have now been removed, and saw in them something far from what was intended when they were created,” the statement continued. “Zara regrets that misunderstanding and we reaffirm our deep respect towards everyone.”

The campaign was ideated in July with photography being shot in September, which Zara noted happened just before Hamas fighters attacked people in Israel. The Gaza Health Ministry reported today that Israel's retaliations since Oct. 7 have killed 18,000 Palestinians and injured nearly 50,000, while the Israeli death toll stands at 1,200.

Prior to Zara's explanation, a boycott was called for, with some activists entering retail locations with their mouths taped and holding figures that represent dead babies.

Zara is getting the Starbucks treatment 👏

— FREE PALESTINE (@missfalsteenia) December 11, 2023
Twitter: @missfalsteenia

After Zara made an insulting advertisement about the Gaza War, the American people threw all Zara clothes in front of the company#zara #BoycottZara #IsraeliTerroristState #Gaza_Geniocide #StrikeForGaza #ابو_عبيدة

— ⓀⒷ𓂆 (@KKhanabadosh) December 12, 2023
Twitter: @KKhanabadosh

i can promise you no one with a shred of humanity will ever buy Zara again, I don't even have to appeal, zara is done.#BoycottZara

— Nabeeha Ilyas (@NabeehaIlyas) December 12, 2023
Twitter: @NabeehaIlyas

Pro-Palestinian activists have gone after Zara before, including once in 2022 when the company hosted an event for right-wing Israeli politician Itamar Ben-Gvir. The year before, Zara's head designer Vanessa Perilman insulted Palestinian model Qaher Harhash in Instagram messages, with some calling for Perilman to receive disciplinary action.

“We condemn these comments that do not reflect our core values of respect for one another, and we regret the offence that they have caused," Zara said in a statement following the 2022 incident. "As a diverse and multicultural company, we are committed to ensuring an equitable and inclusive environment as part of our company values.”

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