Balenciaga under demna: the standard revolution of luxury fashion or artistic “arbitrary”?

Balenciaga under demna: the standard revolution of luxury fashion or artistic "arbitrary"?

2022 must be an extremely “busy” year for Balenciaga, from the unique viral runways on social networks to the trouble related to “his once close friend” – rapper Ye. Even until the end of the year, this brand continued to “take all the spotlight” when launching a fashion campaign with offensive images related to children.

Balenciaga under demna: the standard revolution of luxury fashion or artistic “arbitrary”?

The boycott wave began in mid-November when Balenciaga launched a new product promotion campaign called “Gift Shop”. The images of babies posing with bruised teddy bears, with accessories such as chains, nets, armbands, etc., have caused a wave of intense criticism because they are reminiscent of forms of love. sex. Consumers consider this campaign by the Spanish fashion house to be a prime example of the sexualization of children and serious violations of their rights.

A few days later, Balenciaga launched another campaign for 2023 called “Garde-Robe”. The public discovered that the papers used in the background of the campaign were the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the promotion of child pornography. This makes public opinion even more “boiling”, as many people believe that luxury brands are indirectly promoting child pornography.

In fact, a wave of protests has been brewing since Balenciaga launched the Spring Summer 2023 collection with teddy bears in sex tools blatantly held on the catwalk by models.

Unlike the controversial “unique – strange – weird” campaigns that were Balenciaga’s “specialties” under Demna Gvasalia, this incident got out of control and quickly became one of the scandals. The biggest fashion of 2022. Just type the keyword “Burn Balenciaga” or “Cancel Balenciaga”, and the public will easily find a lot of videos that cut, or even burned, products posted on TikTok.

The hashtag #cancelbalenciaga (boycott Balenciaga) has reached 70 million hits on the platform. At the same time, netizens also constantly pressured and said that celebrities need to “cut off” cooperation and stop using Balenciaga products. The culmination was when Kim Kardashian – the “muse” of the brand, a person who is famous for his tricks to create “drama”,

In response to such harsh public reaction, Balenciaga issued its first apology for the “Gift Shop” campaign and removed all images of the campaign from its media channels. A few hours later, the brand apologized for the “Garde-Robe” campaign and insisted on holding the parties responsible.

In early December, Creative Director Demna Gvasalia officially apologized. He acknowledged his fault for choosing the wrong way to convey ideas and pledged to participate in child protection activities to “atone” for his mistakes. Due to this shocking scandal, the designer also revoked the award “Global Voice 2022” awarded by The Business of Fashion.

Since Demna Gvasalia became the Creative Director of Balenciaga in 2015, this long-standing brand has been “changed blood” as it has continuously gone viral across social media platforms. At the same time, it is also turning itself into a controversial “lightning rod” as the brand’s core style becomes more “different”, with campaigns and products that go against the norm of “beauty”. “of luxury fashion.

With the goal of conquering the younger generation of customers, Demna did not hesitate to create controversial designs to attract the attention of this clientele. From a bag inspired by IKEA’s shopping bags to worn-out shoes, … eccentric, even “ugly” items that Balenciaga “screams” at “heavenly” prices. Some customers think that the brand is mocking and questioning the cliché surrounding the fashion industry and its followers.

However, others believe that Balenciaga is lowering the value of high fashion when constantly releasing designs that go against the concept of “truth – goodness – beauty” which has been preserved for many generations.

Since Demna Gvasalia became the Creative Director of Balenciaga in 2015, this long-standing brand has been “changed blood” as it has continuously gone viral across social media platforms. At the same time, it is also turning itself into a controversial “lightning rod” as the brand’s core style becomes more “different”, with campaigns and products that go against the norm of “beauty”. “of luxury fashion.

With the goal of conquering the younger generation of customers, Demna did not hesitate to create controversial designs to attract the attention of this clientele. From a bag inspired by IKEA’s shopping bags to worn-out shoes, … eccentric, even “ugly” items that Balenciaga “screams” at “heavenly” prices.

Some customers think that the brand is mocking and questioning the cliché surrounding the fashion industry and its followers. However, others believe that Balenciaga is lowering the value of high fashion when constantly releasing designs that go against the concept of “truth – goodness – beauty” which has been preserved for many generations.

Back to the year-end scandal, although Balenciaga has apologized, public opinion has not yet subsided, partly because of the somewhat irresponsible and “blaming” attitude of the brand. On November 25, Balenciaga announced that they would be suing North Six (the makers of the “Garde-Robe” campaign) and demanding $25 million in damages.

Balenciaga called the inclusion of sensitive material in the ad “malicious and extremely reckless,” and they did not approve the items. Meanwhile, a North Six representative told the press that the company has no creative control over the content of the ad. In fact, all major brands have ad campaign moderators.

The review and moderation process would have to be particularly comprehensive for a brand like Balenciaga, as it spends about $100 million a year on promotion. So, the fact that a long-standing luxury fashion house, belonging to a large corporation like Kering, asserts that they cannot control the items that appear in their campaign, or do not anticipate problems. sensitization arising from images of children and teddy bears seems to be an overly “weak” and irresponsible justification.

In an environment as creative as fashion, Balenciaga has the freedom to create designs to satisfy the artistic mind. However, freedom does not mean “arbitrary”. Artistic freedom must still be accompanied by clear directions so that it does not become a tool to spread malicious ideas or lower the core values ​​of fashion. This is not the first time Balenciaga’s fashion campaign has caused controversy. But this time, the breakthrough artistic thinking, or the sharp sarcastic tone of the fashion house, was no longer effective in alleviating public discontent.

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