Zara drops clothing ad after claims it was reminiscent of Gaza body bags

File: People walk outside a Zara shop in Jerusalem on June 28, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
File: People walk outside a Zara shop in Jerusalem on June 28, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Facing mounting calls for a boycott, Spanish fashion brand Zara has withdrawn a controversial advertising campaign featuring body bags after it sparked online fury over its similarity to war-torn Gaza.

Addressing the controversy, Zara — which is owned by Spain’s Inditex, the world’s biggest fashion retailer — denies the claims but nonetheless removes the controversial images from its website.

“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,” says a Zara statement published online.

In one of the images, a model holds what appears to be a body wrapped in plastic over one shoulder, while in another the shrouded shape lies at her feet as she stands on a set featuring chunks of rubble, broken walls and other signs of destruction.

The campaign sparked a furious backlash on social media where many said it was deliberately poking fun at the devastation in Gaza where Israel has waged a vast campaign since the October 7 Hamas attacks.

In response, Zara said its advertising campaign “was conceived in July and photographed in September.” The idea, it said, was to present “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.”

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