Balenciaga & Selfridges Apologize For Store Display Mimicking Homeless People
By Mikelle Leow, 12 Sep 2018
Image via DKSStyle / Shutterstock.com
UK’s high-end department store, Selfridges, has apologized for a Balenciaga window display that passersby have censured for apparently mocking homeless people.
The setup, which is found in Selfridges’ Corner Shop at Oxford Street, advertises Balenciaga’s ‘Track’ sneakers with hoodie-wearing mannequins that have been hunched over or made to look like they’re loitering around or lodging at the display.
‘Homeless chic’ being used to peddle a preview launch at @Selfridges of a new range of @BALENCIAGA trainers (£500+) and hoodies (£600+). Everyone seemed oblivious to the irony, amplified further by the 10 or so chauffeur driven Bentleys right next to the shop windows. Very wrong. pic.twitter.com/QPkscD1jSO— max™ (@mcclowes) September 8, 2018
The installation was put together by American artist Mark Jenkins, who finds his niche in treating the “street as a stage.”
The display has been called out by internet users, who said the “homeless chic” aesthetic was created “in very poor taste.”
“[H]omelessness has gone up 650-percent in central London in just one year,” pointed out television producer Caroline Clayton on Twitter. “These hoodies retail at £600 (US$780)—horrific.”
A spokesperson from Selfridges defended the setup, saying that The Corner Shop serves as a platform for creatives to “showcase their artistic vision as freely as possible,” and that “bold artistic expression” is important to its brand.
“We aim to present surprising, and often thought-provoking, works and collaborations… We apologize for any offense caused.”
Selfridges also told social media users that Jenkins had styled the mannequins to resemble “people waiting in airports.”
Balenciaga subsequently followed up with an apology, saying that it “did not expect” for people to form this “misinterpretation.”
“We are sorry this has caused offense and have modified it to avoid any further upset.”
This isn’t the first Oxford-based campaign that has been criticized for being insensitive to people living on the streets. Recently, a nonprofit raised eyebrows for coming up with a cashless method that allowed people to donate to the homeless through designated barcodes.
Luxury brand @BALENCIAGA marketing their new trainers and hoodies in the windows of @Selfridges last night with mannequins posed as though ‘homeless’. Very poor taste - homelessness has gone up 650% in central London in just one year, these hoodies retail at c£600 - horrific! pic.twitter.com/GcSWp8TO38— Caroline Clayton (@Caroclay) September 8, 2018
The Corner Shop is designed to host to creative partners. The artist Mark Jenkins designed this series – the postures are from people waiting in airports. We did not expect this misinterpretation & are sorry this has caused offence. We have modified it to avoid any further upset.— Selfridges (@Selfridges) September 11, 2018
Same designer. Not an airport lounge. pic.twitter.com/o0XCKOrGlv— max™ (@mcclowes) September 11, 2018
[via WWD, images via various sources]
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