Zara 'regrets misunderstanding' after claims it 'mocked' Gaza deaths

Zara ‘regrets misunderstanding’ over its ad campaign after pro-Palestine activists claimed mannequin wrapped in white plastic ‘mocked’ deaths in Gaza – but clothing giant says it was shot month before Hamas attacks 

  • Zara yesterday faced global calls for a boycott from pro-Palestine activists 
  • The fashion giant has said the campaign was shot before the outbreak of war 

Fashion brand Zara said on Tuesday it regretted the ‘misunderstanding’ over an advertising campaign featuring mannequins with missing limbs and statues wrapped in white that triggered calls for a boycott by some pro-Palestinian activists.

Some online drew parallels between the mannequins wrapped in white sheets and the distressing images of bodies in white shrouds which have come out of Gaza since October 7 amid the war between Israel and Hamas.

Critics also accused the retailer of insensitivity towards deaths in war-torn Gaza after images from the fashion shoot featured mannequins with missing limbs and a model in a wooden box and surrounded by rubble.

Other images, which have since been removed from the firm’s Instagram page, show supermodel Kirsten McMenamy posing with mannequins wrapped in white cloth and plastic.

‘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,’ Zara said in a post on its Instagram account.

It added the photoshoot took place a month before the Hamas attacks of October 7, which triggered the ongoing war in Gaza. 

Fashion giant Zara has come under fire for its new campaign that features a mannequin wrapped in white plastic and surrounded by rubble

Social media users took to X to criticise the campaign, referring to it as ‘shameful,’ ‘disgusting’ and a ‘mockery’. These two images have been deleted from their Instagram page after they were compared to photos of dead bodies in Gaza

Zara released a statement on Instagram on Tuesday morning

One image showed a model holding a mannequin wrapped in what appeared to be white plastic.

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority said it had received 110 complaints that the ad’s imagery referenced the current Israel-Hamas conflict and was offensive.

The watchdog said it was reviewing the complaints but was not currently investigating the ad.

Zara said the campaign, advertising its Atelier line, was ‘conceived in July and photographed in September’.

Hamas launched an attack on Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people. Israel launched retaliatory attacks, which the Health Ministry in the Hamas-controlled territory says has killed more than 17,700 Palestinians in Gaza, around two-thirds of them women and children.

‘Zara regrets that misunderstanding and we reaffirm our deep respect towards everyone,’ Zara said. 

That account had seen tens of thousands of comments posted about the photos, many with Palestinian flags, while ‘#BoycottZara’ was trending on messaging platform X.


Some social media users drew parallels between mannequins used in the campaign and distressing pictures of bodies wrapped in shrouds from Gaza

Some Zara outlets in Montreal were vandalised following the controversy

Zara said the campaign advertising its Atelier line was photographed in September (PA)

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin said that Zara had won ‘the award for most tone deaf brand of the year’.

Six posts showcasing the campaign, which was shot by British fashion photographer Tim Walker, were scrubbed from Zara’s Instagram page.

Mr Walker has previously photographed celebrities such as Stormzy and Jodie Comer for the covers of British Vogue, as well as taking shots of Lady Gaga, Emma Corrin and Miriam Margolyes.

Zara said at the launch of the collection on December 7 that it was inspired by men’s tailoring from past centuries. 

The photos appeared to show an artist studio with ladders, packing materials, wooden crates and cranes, and assistants wearing overalls.

There had been calls for boycotts of the fashion brand, owned by Inditex, which also owns other popular high street stores such as Pull and Bear and Bershka.

In Montreal, Canada, activists sprayed Zara stores with pro-Palestinian slogans.

Zara has described the new clothing line on its Instagram page as: ‘A limited edition collection from the house celebrating our commitment to craftsmanship and passion for artistic expression.’

Taking to social media on Tuesday morning, Zara said: ‘After listening to comments regarding the latest Zara Atelier campaign ‘The Jacket’, we would like to share the following with our customers.

‘The campaign, that was conceived in July and photographed in September, presents a series of images of unfinished sculptures in a sculptor’s studio and was created with the sole purpose of showcasing craftmade garments in an artistic context.

‘Unfortunately, some customers felt offended buy these images, which have now been removed, and saw in them something far from what was intended when they were created.

‘Zara regrets that misunderstanding and we reaffirm our deep respect towards everyone’. 

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