Disclose Racism: Zara France's Troubling Allegations

Disclose Racism: Zara France’s Troubling Allegations

A campaign by Zara that featured sculptures draped in white and mannequins missing limbs was removed off the first page of the company’s app and website after some pro-Palestine activists called for a boycott of the clothing store. Zara’s parent company, Inditex, opened a new tab, claiming the update was a standard part of their content refresh process. It said that the “Atelier” collection was designed and the images were shot, but it made no mention of the calls for a boycott. Israel and Hamas started fighting. 

Racism Allegations Surface

Tens of thousands of people commented on the images on Zara’s Instagram account, many of which including Palestinian flags, and “#BoycottZara” became popular on texting app X. A model is seen holding a white-clad mannequin in one of the pictures, a bust is seen lying on the ground in another, and a mannequin without arms is shown in yet another. Some who saw them stated they looked like images of dead bodies in white shrouds in Gaza. During the collection’s debut, Zara stated that the line was influenced by menswear from bygone eras. The images seem to depict an artist’s workspace complete with ladders, packing boxes, wooden crates, cranes, and overall-clad helpers. The response underscores the increased awareness that global firms are handling as the conflict in Gaza worsens and demands for business boycotts grow. After making remarks on the Israel-Hamas conflict in October, the CEO of Web Summit tendered his resignation.

Response from Zara France

By 12:30 GMT, the images that had shown on Zara’s online shop homepage had vanished from both the website and the app. On the UK website, a link to Zara Atelier sent users to a page featuring the collection from the previous year. The six jackets in the collection are among Zara’s priciest; they range in price from $229 for a gray wool blazer with thick knit sleeves to $799 for a leather jacket with studs. 

This is not the first fashion label to find itself embroiled in controversy as a result of a marketing campaign. Last year, the French luxury conglomerate Kering created a group level post to supervise brand safety after sales were negatively impacted by criticism of child-themed advertising from its Balenciaga line. 2018 saw the removal of Dolce & Gabbana from Chinese e-commerce platforms following a campaign that included models using chopsticks to eat traditional Italian meals, which local celebrities and social media criticized as being racist. Last year, after the local franchise director of Zara in Israel sponsored a political campaign event for an ultranationalist lawmaker, the business faced criticism from some Israelis and Palestinians. Editing by Alexander Smith and David Evans reporting by Corina Pons in Madrid, Helen Reid in London, and Mimosa Spencer in Paris.

Public Outcry and Calls for Accountability:

Fashion behemoth Zara has come under criticism when Palestinian model Qaher Harhash was assaulted on Instagram by Vanessa Perilman, the head designer for the women’s department. Vanessa is accused of sending Qaher inflammatory remarks in reaction to the model from occupied east Jerusalem’s pro-Palestine posts, after she was caught spouting anti-Palestinian vitriol. Later, Qaher posted screenshots of their chat on Instagram, in which Vanessa insulted the model’s Muslim beliefs in addition to blaming Palestinian victims for the terrorism in Gaza. “Perhaps if your people had access to education, they wouldn’t blow up hospitals and schools in Gaza that Israel helped to fund,” her letter said. 


In conclusion, following the demands for a boycott, the Malaysian branches of Grab and McDonald’s announced that they will be contributing aid for Palestinians. However, Zara was criticized by various factions prior to the most recent conflict. The CEO of Trimera, which owns the Israel franchise for Zara, sponsored a campaign event for a well-known far-right political candidate, prompting several Israelis and Palestinians to call for a boycott of the apparel brand, according to a report published by Reuters more than a year ago.



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