By Divine Hanna
In this day and age, the world of fashion is always developing and growing. With the creation of new brands, it is an endless competition and game of advertisement. Some may advertise by dressing celebrities, others may collaborate with bigger, high-end brands. Balenciaga’s tactic, however, steered the opposite direction, making children hold teddy bears in bondage apparel and displaying lawsuit papers of child indecency in the background of their photoshoots.
The fashion industry relies on the public’s reaction to gain popularity and recognition. As the Balenciaga scandal arose, much controversy and backlash followed. Consumers of this luxurious brand went to the extreme of throwing away their Balenciaga products to even burning them. Buyers began to boycott the brand.
Celebrities who have worked closely with the label, such as Kim Kardashian, began to distance themselves and “reevaluate” their relationship with the brand.
In the midst of the uproar of anger from the media, Balenciaga released a statement stating, “We apologize for displaying unsettling documents in our campaign. We take this matter very seriously and are taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items for our Spring 23 campaign photo shoot. We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for children’s safety and well-being.”
Although this scandal may be one of the biggest fashion misconducts, Balenciaga was definitely not the first brand to be exposed for their wrongdoings. Gucci had previously dropped a sweater in one of their campaigns that illustrated blackface. Dolce & Gabbana had been exposed for releasing extremely insensitive homophobic and misogynistic comments. Burberry even released a noose hoodie. However, a common trend with these brands’ scandals is that within a matter of time, people forget these outrageous offenses and continue supporting these brands.
“Balenciaga isn’t the first brand to commit such atrocities,” fashion club president and senior Chloe Grigorian said. “If we really dissect the majority of designer brands, all of them would be in the dumps with Balenciaga. It is good that they are taking the precautions in terms of rebranding, but I don’t think they are the only ones who deserve all the heat. If you take the history of Gucci, Chanel, Givenchy, or Yves Saint Laurent, they all stem from really corrupt designers and public relations teams.”
While the media is so quick to cancel Balenciaga, the cruel labor behind fast fashion continues to be ignored and even supported. From Shein to Zara, behind every “Made in China” label is a child working in horrible conditions and receiving little to no pay to create your cheap clothing item.
However, sustainability isn’t always inclusive. If one is disabled or plus-size, there may not be as many available sustainable options, for example. In other situations, some people may not have the funds to shop sustainably, so fast fashion is the affordable alternative.
Balenciaga scandal is just the tip of the icebergIf you do have the money to shop sustainably, though, it will not only benefit you in terms of having a long lasting piece of clothing, but it will also benefit the environment and stop your support towards child labor. If you have the time and the resources, thrifting and second-hand shopping is a fantastic alternative. Fast fashion should start to decrease now. It definitely isn’t a topic that should not be shamed, but rather worked around.