Balenciaga has unveiled a new line of footwear that looks "fully destroyed", raising eyebrows and outrage in the Twitterverse.
The limited-edition footwear full of rips and dirt costs around US$1,850, and costs twice as much as its standard Paris High Top Sneaker priced around US$625. According to CNN, the images were shot by photographer Leopold Duchemin for the brand, and have gone viral following Monday's launch of the brand's new Paris sneaker.
The roughed up sneakers, which look like a beat-up Converse, were created for an ad campaign, Complex reported and the brand is selling just 100 pairs of the “full destroyed” sneakers. Some have questioned if the product launch is simply a “social experiment”, while others have labelled the sneakers as "poverty-chic pieces” where “unchecked capitalism is mind-boggling”.
One Twitter user also said that this was simply a marketing strategy to make noise in the market and create content to promote the actual product. As such, the shoes in the campaign itself were sold as limited edition pieces.
In a press release, the brand said that the photos which were used in the campaign portray shoes which are "extremely worn, marked up, and dirtied” as it suggests that Paris Sneaker “are meant to be worn for a lifetime". This point is particularly relevant as there are growing concerns around sustainability issues in the fast fashion industry.
Keeping to its theme of destroyed pieces, earlier this year the brand sent invitees to its Autumn/Winter 2022 fashion show held on 6 March 2022 cracked iPhones with the Balenciaga branding engraved on the back with personalised information. The unconventional PR and marketing tactic matches the brand’s aim to have a digital livestream to bring the experience to viewers around the world. Moreover, with the Apple Event just days away, the invites were also very much a timely affair.
This is also not the first time the brand has courted such controversy. In 2017, it released a bag made of bright blue material which was likened to IKEA’s FRAKTA blue bag with a price tag of US $2,145. The too, netizens mocked the brand while IKEA took it in good humour saying it's flattered that Balenciaga created a bag which is similar to IKEA's iconic sustainable blue bag costing 99 cents.
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