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ZARA clothing company incites outrage over advertisement believed to be mocking Gaza deaths

Ready-made clothing manufacturer ZARA has sparked controversy on social media following a new advertisement campaign many believe to be mocking the victims of the Gaza war.

The company, one of the largest distribution outlets in Egypt, published pictures of a new advertising campaign for a variety of winter clothes – includes images of bodies in white shrouds amid apparent destruction, construed as a mockery of Gaza war.

The outrage began after the company shared the advertisement on its page on X platform (formerly Twitter), titled The Jacket.

It featured American model Kristen McMenamy with the description: “A limited edition collection from the house celebrating our commitment to craftsmanship and passion for artistic expression.”


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A post shared by ZARA Official (@zara)

Followers linked this to an image showing an upside-down map of Palestine, raising suspicions that the brand was aiming to mock the Gaza war.


Who owns ZARA in the Middle East?

Through its research, Al-Masry Al-Youm found a company called Azadea responsible for dozens of brands specializing in clothing owns the rights to ZARA in Egypt and the Arab world.

Azadea defines itself as a leading fashion and lifestyle company specializing in retail stores.

The company owns and operates more than 40 prominent international franchises in the Middle East and Africa region.

It has developed into an important chain of stores that represent the most important international brands in the world of fashion, food, beverages, home furnishings and more.

Azadea employs more than 13,500 employees and supervises over 700 stores spread in countries including “Algeria, Bahrain, the Ivory Coast, Cyprus, Egypt, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and UAE,” its website reads.

Al-Masry Al-Youm contacted an Egyptian official responsible for ready-made clothing products in Egypt, Samah Heikal, a member of the Board of Directors of the Clothing Division of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce.

Heikal said that the campaign launched by ZARA may negatively impact its position in Arab markets, especially Egypt, referring to recent widespread boycotts against foreign companies found to support Israel.

She added that the ZARA brand is originally Spanish and was first launched in 1975.

Heikal anticipates an explanatory statement will be issued by the company responsible for it in the Arab world.

The company itself is expected to issue a statement to confirm its respect for Arab and Egyptian values and support for the Palestinian cause, she explained – a measure taken by several companies, including McDonald’s and other primarily Egyptian companies that obtained the right to use the international trademark.

The Egyptian and Arab body responsible for the ZARA brand uses several small factories inside Egypt to produce clothes and distribute them to its distribution places, especially since it is considered almost the largest in Egypt as a clothing brand.

Heikal said that ZARA does not rely on one factory to be able to distribute, with the presence of several stores in each governorates.

She predicted that it would be impossible to direct a provocative campaign from ZARA, especially since it is not American.


Boycotts over the Gaza war

Many Egyptian companies using international brand names are in deep trouble due to boycotts launched, after it was found these brands have expressed support for the Israeli army and its current assault on Gaza.

This has forced them to retreat and announce that they were not responsible for the international branches, while other companies donated money to support the Palestinian cause through official bodies.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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