Is a video on social media that shows clothing thrown from above, falling into heaps on a Times Square sidewalk, part of a protest against the clothing store Zara because of an ad that was "disrespectful of the Gaza conflict"? No, that's not true: The CGI video is aiming to raise awareness of the environmental impact of the fast fashion industry. It is an ad campaign for a second-hand luxury fashion buying and selling platform.
The video was shared on TikTok on December 12, 2023, by @sisilitou and has commenting turned off. The video with the @sisilitou TikTok tag visible was then posted on X (archived here) the same day by @halfadalah with the caption:
After Zara made a disrespectful ad about the Gaza conflict, Americans are throwing away all their Zara clothes in front of the company. Damn on Zionists and anyone backing them.
(Source: X screenshot taken on Thu Dec 14 15:51:28 2023 UTC)
The TikTok post by @sisilitou tags the original video from @vestiairecollectiv that was posted on TikTok on November 16, 2023, with this caption:
With 92 million tons of textiles sent to landfill every year, now's the time to act. That's why, from today, we're banning another 30 fast fashion brands from Vestiaire Collective, including Zara, H&M, Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, Mango, Urban Outfitters, and Uniqlo. Ready to join the movement? #thinkfirstbuysecond
Discover luxury with a second life
Buy and sell designer fashion with millions of fashion enthusiasts worldwide.
The video that is the subject of the fact check shows a real location on Times Square known as Father Duffy Square. It has been heavily edited. The clothing falling from above and the piles below appear to be illustrated CGI. The storefront signage for Zara, Uniqlo, Gap and H&M are not present at the real location. Illuminated billboards have been edited to show the message of the campaign. The two orange billboards in the scene read:
What if fast fashion waste...
Was on your doorstep?
Also on December 12, 2023, an article was published in The New York Times titled, "Zara Removes Campaign After Critics Call It Insensitive to Israel-Hamas War." The Zara ad campaign called "The Jacket" included a model carrying a mannequin wrapped in a sheet in a room with broken sheetrock walls, which some felt was a depiction of a corpse wrapped in a shroud in rubble from a bombing. The Times reported that there were protests at several Zara stores around the world on December 11, 2023. Fox Business published a video from a protest outside the Zara store on Fifth Avenue in New York City that same day. The protesters chanted:
Zara, Zara you can't hide, you support the genocide.
Zara published a statement on Instagram (pictured below) on December 12, 2023, which explained in part:
THE CAMPAIGN, THAT WAS CONCEIVED IN JULY AND PHOTOGRAPHED IN SEPTEMBER, PRESENTS A SERIES OF IMAGES OF UNFINISHED SCULPTURES IN A SCULPTOR'S STUDIO AND WAS CREATED WITH THE SOLE PURPOSE OF SHOWCASING CRAFTMADE GARMENTS IN AN ARTISTIC CONTEXT.
UNFORTUNATELY, SOME CUSTOMERS FELT OFFENDED BY THESE IMAGES, WHICH HAVE NOW BEEN REMOVED, AND SAW IN THEM SOMETHING FAR FROM WHAT WAS INTENDED WHEN THEY WERE CREATED.
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Dec 14 17:58:56 2023 UTC)
Other Lead Stories fact checks about the 2023 Hamas-Israel war can be found here.