Zara has come under fire for using thin and essentially curves-free models in an in-store advertisement telling women to "love their curves". The aim of the ads, which have been seen in stores since February, might be to promote the retailer's "Body Curve Jeans," as AdWeek pointed out. And, with a slogan like that, the imagery is presumably meant to celebrate body positivity, too. And while that's a worthwhile goal we can certainly get behind, the execution seriously falls short in this particular case. And the contradiction between the image used and the intended message wasn't lost on customers.
The ad went viral earlier this week when Muireann O’Connell, an Irish radio personality, shared a photo on Twitter and garnered nearly 8,000 retweets and over 15,000 likes within less than 24 hours.
“You have got to be shitting me, Zara,” she tweeted initially. O'Connell later clarified that the models themselves aren’t to blame. “Can I just say, this has nothing to with the models. It's the marketeers that have distorted their image & fucked up." Unsurprisingly, others followed suit by condemning the ad on social media – often in amusing ways, as the Internet does.
Others took the opportunity to make a serious point about the societal pressures on women regarding weight and thinness, which are at odds with messaging that tells us to love one's own size and body type (especially when that urging is coming from a fashion retailer).
This isn’t the first time the Spanish fast fashion chain has been embroiled in scandal, and the situations really run the gamut. There was that blue and white striped shirt design in 2014 that bore an eerie resemblance to a concentration camp uniform. Over the past few years, we've seen a number of accusations that the brand ripped off the work of designers (which seems to happen a whole lot more often than it should, not that it should be happening at all). Oh, and remember when a woman recently sued the retailer after she found a dead mouse sewn into her dress. Refinery29 has reached out to Zara for comment, and will update this story when we hear back.