What do y'all think about the Balenciaga SS23 & Adidas collab "teddy" controversy?

What's your take in the Balenciaga teddy bear controversay?

  • It's harmless

    Votes: 16 2.4%
  • It's disgusting

    Votes: 514 77.6%
  • It's just to garner attention - Balenciaga being Balenciaga

    Votes: 85 12.8%
  • I don't know what to think

    Votes: 42 6.3%
  • What controversay? (links in post)

    Votes: 5 0.8%

  • Total voters
    662

Swanky

Admin
Admin
O.G.
Jan 12, 2006
88,322
18,134
Bears repeating!
We'd like to leave this thread open, but political conspiracy theories, among other comments need to stop. Discuss the topic only please, let's keep the discussion open and all responses to others need to remain respectful.


Also, let’s stick closely to topic, it really helps preventing tangents and drama.
 
Last edited:

ccbaggirl89

Member
Mar 26, 2015
8,831
16,082
The source is TMZ (not sure I can link them here, just visit their site), but a few other outlets are now reporting that Kim K. has made the decision to no longer work with B and not extend her contract.

"Kim Kardashian announced she's 're-evaluating' her future with Balenciaga, but it appears she's made up her mind ... declining an offer from the brand, and ditching outfits she was set to wear at upcoming events.

Sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell us the design house presented Kim an offer to do a 2023 Balenciaga campaign before the controversial child BDSM ads went live. We're told once those ads went public, Kim made the decision to reject the offer ... even before releasing a statement on the issue."
 
Feb 7, 2010
1,623
2,961
The source is TMZ (not sure I can link them here, just visit their site), but a few other outlets are now reporting that Kim K. has made the decision to no longer work with B and not extend her contract.

"Kim Kardashian announced she's 're-evaluating' her future with Balenciaga, but it appears she's made up her mind ... declining an offer from the brand, and ditching outfits she was set to wear at upcoming events.

Sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell us the design house presented Kim an offer to do a 2023 Balenciaga campaign before the controversial child BDSM ads went live. We're told once those ads went public, Kim made the decision to reject the offer ... even before releasing a statement on the issue."
we'll see...i just checked out her insta and twitter comments...brutal. she will ultimately have to make a commercial choice b/w her future personality/brand and this, to say the least. (You would think morals should be the top reason, but clearly that's not enough for her to make a decision yet.)
 

addiCCted

O.G.
Feb 4, 2012
121
381
I just watched this Youtuber explained about the Balenciaga scandal.



Calling people stupid who don’t agree with his perspective…very unbiased lol.

People are upset at the implication. If it was literally child porn they would have been sued and arrested already. Here’s where plausible deniability comes in.

Everyone draws their own line to what is acceptable or not.
 

RitaLA

Member
Apr 5, 2018
728
2,439
I'm just gonna say this. Brands don't operate in isolation. Nobody on this planet operates in isolation. We are all connected in some way or another. We are all part of a system: culture, language, economy, views, etc. These systems vary from micro to macro, but regardless, we are part of a system. And please, do not assign any specific meaning to what I am saying by "system." A system can be an ecosystem, an economic system, or a feedback loop system seen in thermostats. There is no cultural, racial, or religious meaning attached to it. A system is a system (period). In a system, things are not linear (1+1=2). In a system, all things are impacted by the actions of others (people or things). So it's not possible to remove Balenciaga and whatever message the brand wanted to send through its ads or its "mission statement" as a company out of a certain "context." Balenciaga as a fashion brand is a part of a context. And in this thread, we are dialoguing and trying to understand by bouncing ideas, what the context might be. There are a lot of things into play here and it's not just one ad or one campaign. We are trying to understand as a group, where Balenciaga stands in terms of children and the sexualization of children. Please, I will ask again, do not assign any racial or religious significance to what I am saying because there is nothing related to it in this statement.
 

Angel1988

O.G.
Feb 26, 2006
570
267
Absolutely appalling, unfathomable and disgusting.

The teddy bear is one thing, the bondage is one thing, the court docket referencing child porn case is one thing, but to see those babies pictured with panda eyes (a clinically recognized indicator of traumatic abuse) in the context of all of this is so incredibly infuriating and gut-wrenching there is absolutely no turning back or apology that would warrant this okay. I don't own anything and will never buy balenciaga and would not be sad if this sub-forum was shut down.
I agree with almost everything you say (naturally!).

However, I do not like that the people who are in charge now at Balenciaga also manage to tarnish the whole history of the brand.
To be honest, I never really liked Balenciaga anymore since Nicolas Ghesquière left, but I will continue wearing my first handbags (bought around 2008) and clothing from that period.

I think the blame should more be placed on the people in charge of this, so far, I don't think we've heard much about that.
It's a shady diversion to only speak about 'Balenciaga' (not a person!).
 

cerulean blue

Member
Jul 7, 2019
354
1,118
I'm going to say what I say, this will be my only comment here and I'm out. Reply, I'm not replying back.

I'm really tired of these misinformed narratives and the extremely egregious amounts of misinformation/disinformation repeated not only on social media, but here as well. People have been saying that the children were restrained or wearing locks, implying that the children were nude, conflating two separate ad campaigns, etc etc. Not to mention the slew of right-wing/misinformation/qanon websites shared here too. And it's not surprising these comments have been coming majorly from right-wing/misinformation/qanon mouthpieces/influencers who have tried to draw a connection with Balenciaga's campaign with their conspiracies.
Someone went as far as saying the brand is Satanic because the yellow caution tape is cut and shows the text 'BAAL' therefore alluding to demons in a Christian context.

I have acquaintances and friends that work in higher positions with the house; I've spoken with them to get clarification on this situation. The attempt to generate controversy is NOT true. This was a holiday/gifts campaign, which was to appeal to a very broad audience, so there was no attempt to generate (this type) controversy which would likely alienate people.

To reiterate, none of this was deliberate in generating controversy. The attempts Balenciaga makes to generate controversy are usually done with frivolity like the trash bags. That's the type of controversy Balenciaga likes to garner, to agitate and subvert the average person's sense of good taste regarding design and fashion. Not speak to abuse, p*rn, racism, or to offend any marginalized group.

Regarding the holiday campaign, the bears are 'mascota' bags that were adorned with punk, goth, or emo style clothing and accessories which is a sub-culture and aesthetic Demna has explored constantly throughout his collections. In fact, the photographer said Balenciaga told him the theme was "punk". The intent was Gabriele's style of photography art, combined a punk sensibility, to advertise the series of Balenciaga products that would be good gifts: candle holders, ornaments, apparel/shoes.

Yes, the idea was misguided and reads offensive when you consider what people outside your circle will think. However, the series of people who approved this have the same groupthink. They all are familiar with Demna's ideas (which is punk) so they would approve this. When you are only thinking of punk, Demna's style, and that's all you think of after working with him for half a decade, for some, you might not think of anything else. They did not consider external associations or undertones like BDSM, bondage, or abuse with the bear bags. And Balenciaga has taken accountability for that per their statement.

Regarding the Spring 23 campaign featuring props of court documents relating to child p*rn. Barely anyone is looking this deep into the props when attention is to the models and the clothing. People who are retouching these photos are more focused on the models and overarching factors like lighting. Not zooming into documents. Not paying attention to the coffee table books/ certificates in the background. A person is paid to retouch, not do deep diving into the names to see who have been implicated in what and any associations. Neither would anyone else. More importantly, the documents came from “numerous boxes” rented from a prop house which were all supposed to be “fake office documents.” To include these elements are "the result of reckless negligence" per Balenciaga and they are pursuing legal action against the external parties that were responsible for the props.

Yes I understand how damning it is when you combine the two campaigns but please note that each campaign had a number of different people working on it. I understand it was approved by multiple people. However, in my experience, when a company gets too comfortable with their position, they tend to be more reckless and sloppy with their 'approval' process and not think of other contexts. Balenciaga has taken accountability for their recklessness and are now taking steps to fix this behavior per their statement.

I am not making excuses for Balenciaga, but to offer a counterpoint to the pervasive idea that Balencaiga were all in this together and because this was approved by multiple people, it was intentional and to cause controversy. I agree with Balenciaga taking accountability for their (lack of) actions.

To the people who are going as far as calling this abuse and p*rn. There is a reason why the FBI isn't involved. The DST, French police, Interpol aren't either. Literally no government agency is coming out to hold Balenciaga criminally accountable. And the reason is so simple and straightforward. Because there wasn't any. To categorize what Balenciaga has done as any of these things is extremely dangerous and undermines actual instances of abuse and p*rn.

People who aren't even involved in the shoot are being harassed and accosted. Friends of demna, those who aren't even associated with Balenciaga anymore, celebrities who were there pose and look good, etc. There have been cases with the stores and client services too. A friend notified me of heightened security at some locations because of this. It's going too far. Retail employees, who literally just sell the merchandise (and not paid the best imo), are being harassed. They already have to deal with exacting clients and unrealistic sales goals. Why are people doing this?

I'm NOT going to judge anyone wearing Balenciaga. Have the members here who proudly declared they will judge others considered other factors of why else a person would wear Balenciaga past this controversy? What if that person isn't online/on social media, doesn't pay attention to fashion, and/or unaware of the news? Please extend the empathy you have to others as well.
 
Last edited:

Angel1988

O.G.
Feb 26, 2006
570
267
I still have my moto bag in my closet, even though it has been used so much that the leather is now paper thin...
I've thought about it too...Nicholas is a very different designer who designed classic and beautiful things with grace, the opposite of what the current designer offers. The Balenciaga back then was chic rock n roll. The logo was also different. I wouldn't use it today, but after this issue is resolved (current designer kicked out and logo changed back), I will be happily using mine again because of what the Balenciaga then represented - effortlessly cool.

So so true, but I'm afraid that's only wishful thinking:sad:... I so miss Ghesquiére's Balenciaga of the early 2000's.
 

RitaLA

Member
Apr 5, 2018
728
2,439
I'm going to say what I say, this will be my only comment here and I'm out.

I'm really tired of these misinformed narratives and the extremely egregious amounts of misinformation/disinformation repeated not only on social media, but here as well. People have been saying that the children were restrained or wearing locks, implying that the children were nude, conflating two separate ad campaigns, etc etc. Not to mention the slew of right-wing/misinformation/qanon websites shared here too. And it's not surprising these comments have been coming majorly from right-wing/misinformation/qanon mouthpieces/influencers who have tried to draw a connection with Balenciaga's campaign with their conspiracies.
Someone went as far as saying the brand is Satanic because the yellow caution tape is cut and shows the text 'BAAL' therefore alluding to demons in a Christian context.

I have acquaintances and friends that work in higher positions with the house; I've spoken with them to get clarification on this situation. The attempt to generate controversy is NOT true. This was a holiday/gifts campaign, which was to appeal to a very broad audience, so there was no attempt to generate (this type) controversy which would likely alienate people.

To reiterate, none of this was deliberate in generating controversy. The attempts Balenciaga makes to generate controversy are usually done with frivolity like the trash bags. That's the type of controversy Balenciaga likes to garner, to agitate and subvert the average person's sense of good taste regarding design and fashion. Not speak to abuse, p*rn, racism, or to offend any marginalized group.

Regarding the holiday campaign, the bears are 'mascota' bags that were adorned with punk, goth, or emo style clothing and accessories which is a sub-culture and aesthetic Demna has explored constantly throughout his collections. In fact, the photographer said Balenciaga told him the theme was "punk". The intent was Gabriele's style of photography art, combined a punk sensibility, to advertise the series of Balenciaga products that would be good gifts: candle holders, ornaments, apparel/shoes.

Yes, the idea was misguided and reads offensive when you consider what people outside your circle will think. However, the series of people who approved this have the same groupthink. They all are familiar with Demna's ideas (which is punk) so they would approve this. When you are only thinking of punk, Demna's style, and that's all you think of after working with him for half a decade, for some, you might not think of anything else. They did not consider external associations or undertones like BDSM, bondage, or abuse with the bear bags. And Balenciaga has taken accountability for that per their statement.

Regarding the Spring 23 campaign featuring props of court documents relating to child p*rn. Barely anyone is looking this deep into the props when attention is to the models and the clothing. People who are retouching these photos are more focused on the models and overarching factors like lighting. Not zooming into documents. Not paying attention to the coffee table books/ certificates in the background. A person is paid to retouch, not do deep diving into the names to see who have been implicated in what and any associations. Neither would anyone else. More importantly, the documents came from “numerous boxes” rented from a prop house which were all supposed to be “fake office documents.” To include these elements are "the result of reckless negligence" per Balenciaga and they are pursuing legal action against the external parties.

Yes I understand how damning it is when you combine the two campaigns but please note that each campaign had a number of different people working on it. I understand it was approved by multiple people. However, in my experience, when a company gets too comfortable with their position, they tend to be more reckless and sloppy with their 'approval' process and not think of other contexts. Balenciaga has taken accountability for their recklessness and are now taking steps to fix this behavior per their statement.

I am not making excuses for Balenciaga, but to offer a counterpoint to the pervasive idea that Balencaiga were all in this together and because this was approved by multiple people, it was intentional and to cause controversy. I agree with Balenciaga taking accountability for their (lack of) actions.

To the people who are going as far as calling this abuse and p*rn. There is a reason why the FBI isn't involved. The DST, French police, Interpol aren't either. Literally no government agency is coming out to hold Balenciaga criminally accountable. And the reason is so simple and straightforward. Because there wasn't any. To categorize what Balenciaga has done as any of these things is extremely dangerous and undermines actual instances of abuse and p*rn.

People who aren't even involved in the shoot are being harassed and accosted. Friends of demna, those who aren't even associated with Balenciaga anymore, celebrities who were there pose and look good, etc. There have been cases with the stores and client services too. A friend notified me of heightened security at some locations because of this. It's going too far. Retail employees, who literally just sell the merchandise (and not paid the best imo), are being harassed. They already have to deal with exacting clients and unrealistic sales goals. Why are people doing this?

I'm NOT going to judge anyone wearing Balenciaga. Have the members here who proudly declared they will judge others considered other factors of why else a person would wear Balenciaga past this controversy? What if that person isn't online/on social media, doesn't pay attention to fashion, and/or unaware of the news? Please extend the empathy you have to others as well.
"Regarding the Spring 23 campaign featuring props of court documents relating to child p*rn. Barely anyone is looking this deep into the props when attention is to the models and the clothing. People who are retouching these photos are more focused on the models and overarching factors like lighting. Not zooming into documents. Not paying attention to the coffee table books/ certificates in the background. A person is paid to retouch, not do deep diving into the names to see who have been implicated in what and any associations. Neither would anyone else. More importantly, the documents came from “numerous boxes” rented from a prop house which were all supposed to be “fake office documents.” To include these elements are "the result of reckless negligence" per Balenciaga and they are pursuing legal action against the external parties."
I am sorry but having court documents, which is an actual case, under a bag, is not really recklessness. Someone would have to go and print the case and make a point to use it as a prop. If Balenciaga was a law firm, I could understand why court paperwork would be on desks, but a fashion house? Why not roe v. wade? Why not the NY times newspaper? Why not a magazine? I want to validate what you said and your point of view is important, but it is a bit challenging to be empathic toward them when the messages seem to hold a theme.
 

addiCCted

O.G.
Feb 4, 2012
121
381
what concerns me more is what parent lets their child be part of this...
Which brings up the point of “desensitization” and “normalization”. Perhaps these parents truly see no harm in posing their kids next to these “punk” bears. One has to ask why some groups of people think there is absolutely nothing wrong and some think there absolutely is. Does physical harm have to occur before something is harmful? How much of it is influenced by “thought leaders” telling us what is avant garde and what is “art”?

If no backlash were to occur, would society then be ok with children with bdsm-esque paraphernalia? Is this how goal posts are moved in society?

I have no answers. Just questions.
 

addiCCted

O.G.
Feb 4, 2012
121
381
"Regarding the Spring 23 campaign featuring props of court documents relating to child p*rn. Barely anyone is looking this deep into the props when attention is to the models and the clothing. People who are retouching these photos are more focused on the models and overarching factors like lighting. Not zooming into documents. Not paying attention to the coffee table books/ certificates in the background. A person is paid to retouch, not do deep diving into the names to see who have been implicated in what and any associations. Neither would anyone else. More importantly, the documents came from “numerous boxes” rented from a prop house which were all supposed to be “fake office documents.” To include these elements are "the result of reckless negligence" per Balenciaga and they are pursuing legal action against the external parties."
I am sorry but having court documents, which is an actual case, under a bag, is not really recklessness. Someone would have to go and print the case and make a point to use it as a prop. If Balenciaga was a law firm, I could understand why court paperwork would be on desks, but a fashion house? Why not roe v. wade? Why not the NY times newspaper? Why not a magazine? I want to validate what you said and your point of view is important, but it is a bit challenging to be empathic toward them when the messages seem to hold a theme.
Esp when it’s two separate campaigns. Why is the topic of sex and children touched on in both campaigns when they’re just trying to sell handbags and clothes?
 

880

30th anniversary cuff
O.G.
Aug 31, 2008
15,401
63,324
I'm going to say what I say, this will be my only comment here and I'm out.

I'm really tired of these misinformed narratives and the extremely egregious amounts of misinformation/disinformation repeated not only on social media, but here as well. People have been saying that the children were restrained or wearing locks, implying that the children were nude, conflating two separate ad campaigns, etc etc. Not to mention the slew of right-wing/misinformation/qanon websites shared here too. And it's not surprising these comments have been coming majorly from right-wing/misinformation/qanon mouthpieces/influencers who have tried to draw a connection with Balenciaga's campaign with their conspiracies.
Someone went as far as saying the brand is Satanic because the yellow caution tape is cut and shows the text 'BAAL' therefore alluding to demons in a Christian context.

I have acquaintances and friends that work in higher positions with the house; I've spoken with them to get clarification on this situation. The attempt to generate controversy is NOT true. This was a holiday/gifts campaign, which was to appeal to a very broad audience, so there was no attempt to generate (this type) controversy which would likely alienate people.

To reiterate, none of this was deliberate in generating controversy. The attempts Balenciaga makes to generate controversy are usually done with frivolity like the trash bags. That's the type of controversy Balenciaga likes to garner, to agitate and subvert the average person's sense of good taste regarding design and fashion. Not speak to abuse, p*rn, racism, or to offend any marginalized group.

Regarding the holiday campaign, the bears are 'mascota' bags that were adorned with punk, goth, or emo style clothing and accessories which is a sub-culture and aesthetic Demna has explored constantly throughout his collections. In fact, the photographer said Balenciaga told him the theme was "punk". The intent was Gabriele's style of photography art, combined a punk sensibility, to advertise the series of Balenciaga products that would be good gifts: candle holders, ornaments, apparel/shoes.

Yes, the idea was misguided and reads offensive when you consider what people outside your circle will think. However, the series of people who approved this have the same groupthink. They all are familiar with Demna's ideas (which is punk) so they would approve this. When you are only thinking of punk, Demna's style, and that's all you think of after working with him for half a decade, for some, you might not think of anything else. They did not consider external associations or undertones like BDSM, bondage, or abuse with the bear bags. And Balenciaga has taken accountability for that per their statement.

Regarding the Spring 23 campaign featuring props of court documents relating to child p*rn. Barely anyone is looking this deep into the props when attention is to the models and the clothing. People who are retouching these photos are more focused on the models and overarching factors like lighting. Not zooming into documents. Not paying attention to the coffee table books/ certificates in the background. A person is paid to retouch, not do deep diving into the names to see who have been implicated in what and any associations. Neither would anyone else. More importantly, the documents came from “numerous boxes” rented from a prop house which were all supposed to be “fake office documents.” To include these elements are "the result of reckless negligence" per Balenciaga and they are pursuing legal action against the external parties.

Yes I understand how damning it is when you combine the two campaigns but please note that each campaign had a number of different people working on it. I understand it was approved by multiple people. However, in my experience, when a company gets too comfortable with their position, they tend to be more reckless and sloppy with their 'approval' process and not think of other contexts. Balenciaga has taken accountability for their recklessness and are now taking steps to fix this behavior per their statement.

I am not making excuses for Balenciaga, but to offer a counterpoint to the pervasive idea that Balencaiga were all in this together and because this was approved by multiple people, it was intentional and to cause controversy. I agree with Balenciaga taking accountability for their (lack of) actions.

To the people who are going as far as calling this abuse and p*rn. There is a reason why the FBI isn't involved. The DST, French police, Interpol aren't either. Literally no government agency is coming out to hold Balenciaga criminally accountable. And the reason is so simple and straightforward. Because there wasn't any. To categorize what Balenciaga has done as any of these things is extremely dangerous and undermines actual instances of abuse and p*rn.

People who aren't even involved in the shoot are being harassed and accosted. Friends of demna, those who aren't even associated with Balenciaga anymore, celebrities who were there pose and look good, etc. There have been cases with the stores and client services too. A friend notified me of heightened security at some locations because of this. It's going too far. Retail employees, who literally just sell the merchandise (and not paid the best imo), are being harassed. They already have to deal with exacting clients and unrealistic sales goals. Why are people doing this?

I'm NOT going to judge anyone wearing Balenciaga. Have the members here who proudly declared they will judge others considered other factors of why else a person would wear Balenciaga past this controversy? What if that person isn't online/on social media, doesn't pay attention to fashion, and/or unaware of the news? Please extend the empathy you have to others as well.

I enjoy and learn from all of your posts, and this is no exception. I think what most posts on this thread react to is the juxtaposition of children, not with punk elements, as one member pointed out, but with the BDSM gear, that apparently (I learned this from this thread) lays out a pretty obvious ‘secret’ coded message.

I am horrified that the creative director and associates may have personal Instagram pages filled with far more graphic and objectionable and grotesque images, and I believe that these people should not have been in charge of final vetting of creative decisions. I do think that vetting of those images should have been done with more care. I am also disgusted with the way Balenciaga did not step up to the plate to take entire responsibility of their own ad campaign (I think we disagree on that point). I didn’t think that anyone on this thread equated this with child pornography or supported vigilante behavior of the sort that you mention, but I will reread. I am sure that I am not alone in being grateful for your providing a counterweight to the rest of the thread. :smile:

ETA: I was only aware of and focusing on the child with a bondage bear ad campaign, and I was most disgusting with posts that tried to spread disinformation by mentioning tropes, pizzagate, Soros, woke media, and other unrelated stuff, that I do think is conspiracy theory inspired or adjacent. And, I don’t think that Broadway plays or Balthus, or even this ad, as distasteful as it is, do anything to normalize pedophilia. I do think it’s disgusting that some posts cannot even tolerate the existence of a play that discusses the marginalization of offenders, yes rapists etc, who have served their time in state incarceration. We are supposed to believe in a system of Justice after all. WTF is up with those posts, I really don’t know.
 
Last edited:

Annawakes

Member
Apr 25, 2016
1,993
9,300
Someone went as far as saying the brand is Satanic because the yellow caution tape is cut and shows the text 'BAAL' therefore alluding to demons in a Christian context.

I have acquaintances and friends that work in higher positions with the house; I've spoken with them to get clarification on this situation. The attempt to generate controversy is NOT true. This was a holiday/gifts campaign, which was to appeal to a very broad audience, so there was no attempt to generate (this type) controversy which would likely alienate people.

Thank you for a well written and thoughtful post.

However, it’s hard to believe that a fashion house would mistakenly spell their own name wrong. Surely one of the many many people working on the ad would have said, Hey, our name is spelled wrong?!! Let’s carefully turn the tape so people can see our mistake.

Also, I’m not surprised that the people you spoke with denied attempting this type of controversy. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have spoken against the position the company already put out. Which is really weak in my opinion.

But I do appreciate reading other view points.
 
Top