Weibo users did not hold back while criticizing a campaign for Balenciaga’s “extremely worn” limited edition sneakers worth $1,850.
Images of the costly, “full destroyed” Balenciaga Paris Sneaker started circulating on Weibo this week, with over 2.12 million users already talking about them, South China Morning Post reported. The photos depict pairs of shoes that appear to have been found in a lake or garbage bin, according to several users.
These sneakers, however, are reportedly part of a promotional campaign. The actual products that Balenciaga sells have a pre-worn look, but they are not nearly as sullied.
“A dedicated campaign shows the shoes extremely worn, marked up, and dirtied,” Balenciaga wrote. “These still life portraits, by photographer Leopold Duchemin, suggest that Paris Sneakers are meant to be worn for a lifetime.”
The sneakers were designed to comment on how fast fashion and human consumption negatively affect the environment.
However, Weibo users were quick to criticize Balenciaga’s campaign by saying that the shoes are too awful to effectively send a message to consumers. Instead, they seem more like “an example of tone-deafness from wealthy people.”
“Is it a game for the rich?” one Weibo user asked.
“I can find a pair of these shoes in the bin for free,” another user wrote.
“Wouldn’t it be more eco-friendly not to sell these shoes?” another asked.
Balenciaga has only made 100 pairs of the “extremely worn” version. They sell for $1,850 and became available in the United States on May 16.
Balenciaga is also offering less tattered versions for anyone who isn’t a fan of the highly distressed aesthetic. The limited-edition version only comes in white and black, while the less tattered high-top trainers and mules come in white, black and red.
This is not the first time Balenciaga caused a stir in the fashion industry. In July 2020, the luxury fashion house was accused of appropriating a Vietnamese designer’s work. Balenciaga later told NextShark that its Instagram post of a motorbike covered with clothes was not based on any artist’s work.
Balenciaga was criticized again a month later after it released “ugly” bags for Chinese Valentine’s Day.
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