Every little move that Balenciaga makes is newsworthy nowadays, now that the luxury label is laying low in the wake of its child ad scandal. In a bizarrely delayed response to the late 2022 controversy, Balenciaga announced on February 8, 2023, that both it and parent company Kering's charitable branch (the Kering Foundation) were entering a partnership with the National Children's Alliance.
The news precludes Balenciaga's rumored early March fashion show, which would be the fashion house's first return to the spotlight since the furor raised by its holiday gifting campaign.
Balenciaga used to post on Instagram quite frequently but now it's hardly active at all, so much so that it's practically eyebrow-raising to see Balenciaga upload anything at all.
The National Children’s Alliance announcement was made on Balenciaga's Instagram and makes the following promises that Balenciaga will "facilitate a significant increase in access to [the National Children’s Alliance's] Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Training," "raise public awareness on child abuse" to promote "a happy, healthy childhood," and receive education from the National Children’s Alliance about "about child protection and actions adults can take to promote the safety and well-being of children" as part of the NCA's new Mental Health Institute.
Balenciaga also promises "support" for the National Children’s Alliance that will allow the nonprofit to "train nearly 2,000 [child abuse] professionals," thus enabling access to "evidence-based mental healthcare" for "an estimated 55,000 children."
Full details are available on Balenciaga's website.
Balenciaga's campaign scandal was one of the biggest ripple effects that the fashion industry has witnessed in years, perhaps even outpacing Dolce & Gabbana's own racist advertisement from 2018 in terms of sheer reach.
This is arguably because Balenciaga controversy was boosted by far-right American pundits and social media users but even apolitical viewers were perturbed by the allegations of child abuse and endangerment that stemmed from external interpretations of two separate Balenciaga campaigns, one with children holding leather-clad teddy bears and the other with legal documents decorating the set.
“I realize that my work has been seen as provocative, but this specific situation would never be part of my, you know, provocative nature,” Demna said in a recent interview. “That was the most difficult thing for me personally: How could I not see [the problem]? Because it is so clear to me now that it was the wrong thing to do.”
Though many celebrities and fans were quick to distance themselves from Balenciaga — both quietly and loudly — plenty of famous individuals have continued to wear Balenciaga clothing in public appearances.