Outrage in China over deliberately ‘dirty’ new $1,850 Balenciaga trainers

‘I can find a pair of these shoes in the bin for free’

Peony Hirwani
Thursday 19 May 2022 08:15 BST
Balenciaga’s controversial ‘destroyed’ Paris sneaker
Balenciaga’s controversial ‘destroyed’ Paris sneaker (Balenciaga)

A pair of torn and dirty $1,850 (£1,500) Balenciaga sneakers has caused an outrage in China.

The luxury fashion house has been in the public eye for the distressed new Paris footwear collection which is designed to look dirty and “destroyed” to draw attention to fashion’s role in environmental degradation.

According to the brand, the photographs of this new collection are simply meant to indicate that its new Paris sneakers “are meant to be worn for a lifetime”.

The shoes went viral on the Chinese microblogging website Weibo this week, where many people called the sneakers “way too ugly to be used to spread awareness”.

“I can find a pair of these shoes in the bin for free,” one person wrote, according to South China Morning Post.

“Wouldn’t it be more eco-friendly not to sell these shoes?” wrote another user. “Is it a game for the rich?”

Instagram account and fashion watchdog group Diet Prada also shared an image of the sneakers, generating some insightful comments.

“It’s giving Derelicte by Mugatu,” wrote one user, a reference to the fashion line produced by Will Ferrell’s villainous character in the satirical fashion film Zoolander.

Another wrote: “The canvas is distressed?? your honour, these shoes are in utter anguish”, while a third commented: “Bro I thought these were excavated from an ancient site or something lol.”

Others accused the fashion house of classism and glamourising poverty. “I guess it’s only okay to look poor but not actually be poor. Such a joke,” wrote one user, while another said: “Smells like rich people romanticising the poor and homelessness.”

While the new Paris range includes black and white “new” high-top trainers, there are 100 limited edition “extra destroyed” pairs available.

The product description states that the distressed pairs feature “rippings all over the fabric” and “full destroyed cotton and rubber”.

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