Selfridges and Balenciaga apologise after window display branded 'homeless chic' by critics

Selfridges and Balenciaga have apologised following a backlash overa window display for designer clothes that critics branded "homeless chic".

The department store and luxury fashion brandwere accused of "trivialising" rough sleeping withthe window display which included hooded mannequins in slumped positions.

The displayat the Oxford Street store was designed to advertise a new range of Balenciaga trainers and hoodies worth hundreds of pounds.

But critics slammed itas “insensitive”, suggesting it used “homeless chic” andimagery of the poorest in society to target the richest.

Selfridges and Balenciaga havesince apologised for any offence caused and said the display had been modified to avoid causing further upset.

Balenciaga said the display was designed by US artist Mark Jenkins and was supposed to represent an "indoor theme" and that some of the postures were based on "people waiting in airports".

One mannequincould be seen lying face-down on the ground, with another wasslumped against a wall with a hood pulled over its face and arms inside its pocket.

The display of Balenciaga clothes has been accused of using "homeless chic" (Katy Clifton)

Councillor Emine Ibrahim, deputy leader of Haringey Council, said she was “appalled” when she saw the display in Selfridges, calling it a “truly shallow reflection of consumerism”.

She told the Standard: “Young men and women are dying on our streets in London and the idea that this imagery of people sleeping on the streets – one face down and the other shivering – can in some way be used to promote a luxury brand like Balenciaga is truly astonishing.

“I don’t think that they feel very chic when in the winter months the cold becomes a battle between life and death. One comment highlighted how telling it was that the mannequins were faceless, this tells me how dehumanising the display is. It is insensitive consumerism at its extreme.

“Selfridges needs to publically apologise and use this poorly-judged display to highlight and bring focus to the issue of street homelessness in our city. Maybe those who are going to buy the £500 trainers and clothes from Balenciaga’s winter collection will stop for a minute and think.”

Selfridges said the installation and creative output behind the display came from Balenciaga, theluxury fashion brand founded in Spain.

Balenciaga display at Selfridges as centre of row

Speaking about the impact of the display, Streets Kitchen organiser Jon Glackinsuggestedthe mannequinswere “almost a take of a Banksy image”.

“How do you think a homeless person would feel if they looked through the window and saw that display? It trivialises the problem of homelessness,” he said.

“The designers behind the display should know better, their jobs are to use images to promote things and these kinds of images just reinforce stereotypes.

Selfridges and Balenciaga have since apologised for any offence caused by the display.

A Selfridges spokesman said: “The Corner Shop at Selfridges Oxford Street is designed to play host to creative partners and allow them to showcase their artistic vision as freely as possible.

"The Arts, and bold artistic expression, have always been central to our ethos as a brand. We aim to present surprising and often thought-provoking works and collaborations with our partners and guest creatives across all of our platforms.

“Of course, we would like to make clear that the mannequins in this particular display are not mechanised in any way and are static.”

Balenciaga added: "The American artist Mark Jenkins designed a series of pieces on an indoor theme – the postures you see from people waiting in airports, for example.

"We did not expect this misinterpretation. We are sorry this has caused offence and have modified it to avoid any further upset.”

Others on social media said the displaywas both “immoral and vile”, with another writing it was the “rich mocking not the poor, but the poorest”.

One person wrote: “'Homeless chic’ being used to peddle a preview launch at Selfridges of a new range of Balenciaga trainers and hoodies.

“Everyone seemed oblivious to the irony, amplified further by the 10 or so chauffeur-driven Bentleys right next to the shop windows.”
Selfridges Balenciaga apologise
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
13 views in january
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

At least eight suspected migrants have landed on a beach near Dover this morning with some managing to flee before emergency services could arrive.  The migrants are believed to have braced the cold weather overnight to cross the channel. Footage of the landing appeared to show up to eight people on board a small dinghy, which was being towed by a Border Force patrol vessel. According to Sky News, the dingy was picked up by fishermen earlier this morning,...
England female basketball stars were joined by an NBA great to inspire young women to take up their sport. Siobhan Prior and Georgia Jones were joined by three-time NBA champion Bruce Bowen at the Jr. NBA Girls Clinic, hosted at CitySport in Barbican on Monday, before a game at the O2 on Thursday between the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks. Prior and Jones, who were in the silver medal-winning England Women’s team at the Gold Coast Commonwealth...
Grieving parents heard that new medical practices could have saved their baby, who died in their arms at just four days old from preventable brain damage caused during labour. Sebastian Clark was born at Kingston Hospital on March 8 2017,  with devastating injuries from which he would never recover. Failure by midwives to escalate the case and subsequent failure by doctors to expedite the pregnancy, despite knowing that Sebastian’s mother Alison had develo...
A man has been tasered and arrested by police at a train station in south London. The 59-year old is currently being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon after being detained at Tulse Hill. British Transport Police officers were called to the station just after 6:30pm to reports of someone carrying a knife. Nobody was injured and the arrest is not believed to be terror related. Witnesses are being urged to conta...
A mother has died and her eight-month-old boy is in hospital after being hit by a car as they crossed a road. The woman, believed to be in her 20s, was pushing a pram when they were hit in Anerley, south London, last night. The boy is in a serious condition after suffering from life-threatening injuries. The driver of the car that is believed to have hit them was also taken to hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and is helping police with their inqu...
News Company
Breaking up with your partner is always a disastrous event. However, if your partner decides to break up with you, it isn’t necessarily the end. Statistically 66% of exes want to get back together again. 50% of separated couples reunite. Here we will show you tips on how to fix a broken relationship. If you want to find your love you must realize that it is all about respect and understanding your beloved one.  Accepting The Situation  You have to calm dow...
A Londoner who used to contemplate suicide on his morning commute is now running the length of every Tube line to raise money for a mental health charity. Daniel Sherry, 29, quit his sports PR job in April 2018 and set about completing “30 challenges before 30”, including running his first marathon and cycling from London to Paris. His latest exploit is seeing him traverse all 11 lines of the capital’s 249 mile-long underground network above ground, on foo...
The family of London teenager Jayden Moodie say he had no links to gangs and was "murdered in cold blood". Jayden Moodie, 14, was stabbed to death by attackers who knocked him off a moped in Leyton on Tuesday in what police believe was a targeted attack. The teenager had moved from Nottingham to London with his mother six months ago for a "new start". No arrests have been made over Jayden's death, the Met Police has said. Speaking near to the scene where J...
A clubber who ploughed his car onto a packed dance floor in a drink and drug-fuelled rage after being thrown out by bouncers has been jailed for 28 years. Mohammed Abdul said he felt “humiliated” after being ejected from Blake’s nightclub in Gravesend, Kent, on March 17 last year. He drank at least 15 glasses of vodka, tequila shots and more than “five to 10 spliffs” of cannabis before he got behind the wheel of his Suzuki Vitara. Bouncers had kicked him o...