Balenciaga Creative Director, Demna Gvasalia, 41, has broken his silence regarding the recent holiday campaign controversy of the brand, which featured children holding teddy bears in leather bondage. The designer took to Instagram on Dec. 2 to issue a formal statement. “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,” he wrote. Notably, Demna also emphasized that he “condemns” child abuse and “NEVER” had an intention to “provoke” that.
“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. Period,” the Georgian artist added. Demna also said, “I need to learn from this, listen and engage with child protection organizations” in order to “help on this terrible subject.” He also concluded the lengthy statement with an apology. “I apologize to anyone offended by the visuals and Balenciaga has guaranteed that adequate measures will be taken not only to avoid similar mistakes in the future but also to take accountability in protecting child welfare in every way we can,” he concluded.
Demna’s statement comes four days after Balenciaga issued a formal statement on the matter, which was also shared on the same verified Instagram account. “We take full accountability for our lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background and we could have done things differently,” the statement began. “While internal and external investigations are ongoing, we are taking the following actions: • We are closely revising our organization and collective ways of working. • We are reinforcing the structures around our creative processes and validation steps. We want to ensure that new controls mark a pivot and will prevent this from happening again. • We are laying the groundwork with organizations who specialize in child protection and aims at ending child abuse and exploitation.”
They, too, concluded the statement with a formal apology to anyone the campaign offended. “We want to learn from our mistakes and identify ways we can contribute. Balenciaga reiterates its sincere apologies for the offense we have caused and extends its apologies to talents and partners,” the Spanish company wrote. Both statement come weeks after the holiday campaign first launched, and it has sparked outrage across social media from parents and celebrities alike.
Devoted Balenciaga fashionista and SKIMS founder Kim Kardashian, 42, also broke her silence on the matter via Twitter on Nov. 27. “I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened,” the mom-of-four wrote. “As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images. The safety of children must be held with the highest regard and any attempts to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society — period.”
I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened.
— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) November 27, 2022
The Kardashians star also revealed that she spoke with the brand, to ensure this “never” happens again. “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 added in the Twitter thread. Kim concluded by saying that she’s currently “re-evaluating” her relationship with Balenciaga. “As for my future with Balenciaga, I am currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand, basing it off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with — & the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children,” she concluded.