When Balenciaga released its controversial SS23 campaign last November, Demna’s future within fashion came under questioning. He was accused of glamorising child abuse and pushing a satanic agenda into the mainstream by releasing advertising images of bondage-wearing teddy bears and printed documents detailing a Supreme Court decision on child pornography. So how could the designer – who had committed what many deemed the ultimate offence – effectively make amends?
Though the brand was absent from the SS23 couture season, Balenciaga appeared on the AW23 Paris Fashion Week schedule last week, while drip-feeding new images from its garde-robe collection on Instagram. Now, the brand has bolstered the apology it initially made by broadcasting a three-year partnership with the National Children’s Alliance. “Support from Balenciaga will enable NCA to train nearly 2,000 professionals specialised in child abuse and up to an estimated 55,000 children will benefit by receiving evidence-based mental healthcare over the three-year program,” the statement read.
The coalition will focus on three key areas of safety and wellbeing: increasing access to trauma-based cognitive behavioural training; educating Balenciaga staffers on how to best safeguard children; and raising public awareness on what constitutes a happy, healthy childhood. “It can mean the difference between life and death, which is why Balenciaga’s and the Kering Foundation’s support for this program is so urgently needed,” NCA Chief Executive Officer, Teresa Huizar, said. “We have listened and learned a lot through this experience, and we wanted to help have a positive and lasting impact on children and their future who needed support but lacked access,“ Balenciaga’s CEO Cédric Charbit added.
For more information on the partnership, click here.