Balenciaga and bondage teddy bears: how did we get here?

Balenciaga+store

Thomas Hawk

This photo took place on Sept. 2014 and was taken in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Lukas Luna-Arellano, Opinion Editor

As has been noted by everyone far and wide, November 21st saw the fashion brand Balenciaga launch a new campaign using images of children holding what appear to be bondage-clad teddy bears.

Shortly afterward, a bag from the company’s recent collaboration with Adidas was photographed atop files about the Supreme Court case United States V. Williams, a ruling which increased protections against virtual child pornography.

To say that Balenciaga is in hot water at the moment is putting it lightly and the company is still being dragged across the coals by all sides of the political spectrum.

This is not meant to be yet another accusatory piece that alleges something horrible going on behind company walls.

Everyone from the CEO to the photographer that took the photos has apologized profusely and if this was indeed indicative of something sinister, it is likely the authorities would’ve gotten involved by now.

Rather than hate, the culprit seems to be based on stupidity and Balenciaga’s stunt-driven history as a brand only seems to back this up.

Having jumped on the “shockvertising” train popularized by brands like Benetton in the 80s, Balenciaga’s new creative director, Demna Gvasalia has taken to unconventional ways to advertise his products.

Known professionally as Demna, he has pumped out utterly bizarre ad campaigns. Including, but not limited to, a dystopian newscast hosted by its models and photos meant to evoke celebrities dodging paparazzi.

While the campaigns can seem completely nonsensical, they have accomplished their intended purpose of getting people talking about the Balenciaga brand.

It stands to reason then that the biggest lesson Demna took from the success of these campaigns was that shocking and unusual imagery was his brand’s future.

Enter: the current controversy.

Though it is in phenomenally bad taste, the recent campaign is merely the latest in a long line of egocentric designer’s vanity projects.

Demna and his cohorts and Balenciaga may be a lot of things, but to accuse them of being pedophiles or anything of the sort is a bridge too far.

The minds behind the campaign have even been exonerated by the father of one of the children featured in the campaign.

“No parent would actively encourage the child to take part in something which was pornographic, the father of the British child model said according to the Daily Mail.

The father also added, “I think the publicity surrounding what happened has been blown out of all proportion.”

Balenciaga’s recent campaign is merely the latest in a long line of strange marketing decisions made by people who get high off their arrogance.

If anything should be blamed for the current situation, it is that arrogance, not some phantom pedophilia.

Of course, Balenciaga only got here in the first place thanks to a public who eagerly gave all their attention to the brand’s cryptic and inane advertising.

Going forward, let us all make strides to reward these pretentious “artists” with the indifference they deserve and hopefully avoid any similar colossally stupid campaigns in the future.