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Balenciaga Wipes Instagram Feed in Support of Iranian Women

Gucci, meanwhile, shared its stance via Instagram stories. Will other brands follow suit?
Exterior of the Balenciaga store in Munich, Germany in 2022

Exterior of the Balenciaga store in Munich, Germany in 2022

Following the heartbreaking and tragic murder of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran's "Morality Police," and ensuing protests, fashion brands have been slow, some might say, to take a public stance on the pressing global issue. On Wednesday, however, a couple of brands took to social media to show their support for the freedom and life of Iranian women.

On Instagram Wednesday, Oct. 5, Balenciaga uploaded a black-and-white image of the phrase "Woman Life Freedom" on its feed and Stories, writing the caption, "Balenciaga, Kering and the Kering Foundation have always supported the fight for women’s fundamental rights and freedom. We stand with all Iranian women, in memory of Mahsa."

It comes as a surprise (and honestly a relief) that a major fashion brand is not only raising awareness and voicing its support for Iran's women's rights movement — which quite literally concerns what women wear — but also completely wiped the rest of its Instagram page just days after its Spring 2023 showcase at Paris Fashion Week to further highlight the message.

Joining the conversation is Balenciaga's parent company Kering and the Kering Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to combat violence against women since its inception back in 2008. "As Kering and the @keringfoundation have always supported women's fights for their fundamental rights and freedom, we stand with all Iranian women. #mahsaamini #مهسا_امینی," the company's latest Instagram caption reads.

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Milan-based Gucci, also part of Kering, went a less permanent route in voicing its support, writing on Instagram Stories: "As a House, and through our Chime for Change campaign to unite and strengthen voices in the fight for gender equality, we stand with all Iranian women." At press time, fellow Kering brands Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen had yet to post anything.

Online support continues to flood social media over the death of 22-year-old Amini, who died in the custody of the country's "morality police," as described in a recent report by The Cut.

As Danya Issawi writes, "For Muslim women, the choice to wear a headscarf is intended to be a deeply personal one, and Iran's overarching dress code has been a point of contention since its adoption after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Women have long been arrested for pushing back against modesty laws, including in 2017, when 29 women were arrested for going without their hijabs in public." In light of the news, protests have spread across the country, with women ripping off their headscarves and waving them in the air and some burning them in large fires and dancing in celebration.

Celebrities have also shown their solidarity for Amini and protestors, like supermodel Bella Hadid, who wrote on Instagram: "...Our sisters are being murdered for the right to be. The right to exist in all their freedom. The freedom of choosing of their sovereignty over their own bodies. Unarmed, facing with police and their weapons. How can women make a militarized dominant majority so threatened and insecure? The control of our bodies is the same need to control our lands our earth. Patriarchy is the disease." 

Here's hoping we see more influential fashion entities use their platforms to spread awareness — and put their money where their mouth is — at the very least.

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