Luxury fashion brand Balenciaga was accused of using “homeless chiq” in their most recent display in Selfridges window in its Oxford Street flagship.
Both Balenciaga and Selfridges have apologised following the backlash against the campaign which saw outraged shoppers take to Twitter to express their concerns.
Being someone who has been homeless through no fault of my own with a sudden health problem I find this insulting and almost like the vulger with more money than compassion are taking the micky and rubbing salt in our wounds,
— Andy (@Andrewc65399098) September 10, 2018
Due to the styling and the positioning of the mannequins, the brand was accused of using “homeless chiq” to advertise hoodies and trainers worth hundreds of pounds.
Mannequins were positioned hunched over with their heads down, an image that many passers-by felt resembled homeless people.
Dressed in hoodies and track pants, the mannequins were reportedly intended to show people waiting around in airports.
A spokesperson Selfridges spokesperson said that the store works as a platform for designers 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,” it added.
The high-end fashion brand also issued an apology following the backlash: “We did not expect this misinterpretation. We are sorry this has caused offense and have modified it to avoid any further upset”.
— Pelle Valore Inc. (@PelleValore) February 1, 2017
This is not the first time an accusation along these lines has been made against high-end fashion brand.
Luxury brands including Vivienne Westwood alongside Japanese brands: Daisuke Obana and N. Hoolywood have designed runway looks which viewers also believed resembled those of the homeless community.