Balenciaga's Viral Child Campaign Controversy Aftermath

Balenciaga's Viral Child Campaign Controversy Aftermath

News by Anja Paspalj
Published: January 27, 2023

Following Balenciaga’s controversial campaign for its limited-edition range of homeware “Objects,” it looks like the luxury fashion brand is headed toward a difficult path of recovery.

Immediately following global criticism for insinuating child pornography in the advertising campaign, Balenciaga pulled campaign images and issued a public apology. Creative director Demna also shared a public apology on his Instagram page.

“I want to personally apologize for the wrong artistic choice of concept for the gifting campaign with the kids and I take my responsibility. It was inappropriate to have kids promote objects that had nothing to do with them. As much as I would sometimes like to provoke a thought through my work, I would NEVER have an intention to do that with such an awful subject as child abuse that I condemn,” he stated.

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A post shared by Dedicated to Balenciaga by Demna (@demnagram)

Balenciaga’s CEO Cédric Charbit also released a statement detailing what actions the Kering-owned fashion house would take to prevent similar situations from occurring, including new control instances, changes to internal organization and donations to organizations protecting children.

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A post shared by Dedicated to Balenciaga by Demna (@demnagram)

Despite the public apologies, Balenciaga’s condemnation may prove to have a more permanent effect on the brand. For one, Demna was pulled from the British Fashion Council’s running for Designer of the Year. Adidas, intended to partner with the luxury brand for a limited-edition Stan Smith collaboration, has postponed the launch despite pre-orders already being placed.

“We have taken the time to re-evaluate our partnership with Balenciaga and we decided to pause all product launches until further notice,” stated an e-mail to a customer who had pre-purchased the Balenciaga x Adidas Stan Smith sneakers.

It’s difficult to tell how much time it will take for Balenciaga to recover its reputation. Still, the widespread reaction of celebrities certainly is not helping, of which Kim Kardashian has been the most noteworthy due to her role as a brand ambassador.

“I appreciate Balenciaga’s removal of the campaigns and apology. In speaking with them, I believe they understand the seriousness of the issue and will take the necessary measures for this to never happen again,” she said in a public statement. However, it now looks like she has cut all ties with the brand.

(Source: Instagram)
Kim Kardashian in Balenciaga

Recently, many of her previously owned or never-before-worn Balenciaga clothing items made it into the Kardashian family’s retail site Kardashian Kloset. She has listed more than 30 items at discounted prices, from sneakers to coats and tracksuits.

Meanwhile, Too Hot To Handle’s Holly Scarfone posted a TikTok, which now has about 3.5 million views, showing Balenciaga items discounted to 40% off at a Bloomingdale’s department store.

Almost two months have passed since the controversial PR scandal and although Balenciaga is persisting in the face of challenges, the question is: would you still buy Balenciaga?

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