On October 7, members of Palestinian militant group Hamas stormed southern Israel in an attack that lasted several hours and claimed thousands of victims.
Hamas is recognized as a terrorist group by countries including the US and UK.
Following the attack, Israel launched retaliatory air strikes on the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.
The escalating situation in that region resulted in a number of international fashion companies and figures taking actions to show their stance on the issue.
Zara shutters stores
Shortly following the attack on Saturday, Spanish fashion giant Inditex swiftly announced the closing of its 84 stores in Israel, in what it called a temporary move made until further notice. The owner of Zara confirmed the closures via its own portfolio brand websites, where a statement read: “Our stores will remain closed temporarily, and the return deadlines will be extended by 30 days from their reopening.”
American Eagle makes bold statement
American Eagle made a bold statement of its own, replacing its flagship billboard in Times Square with an image of the Israeli flag over the weekend. A picture of the billboard was shared by the company’s chief marketing officer Craig Brommers in a post on LinkedIn.
Model Gigi Hadid clarifies her position
Of Palestinian origin, supermodel Gigi Hadid was keen to clarify her position from the outset, outlining her solidarity and standing in a post on her personal Instagram account. “My thoughts are with all those affected by this unjustifiable tragedy and every day that innocent lives are taken by this conflict – too many of which are children,” the post began. Hadid went on to say “the terrorising of innocent people is not in alignment with and does not do any good for the ‘Free Palestine’ movement”, adding “I know my words will never be enough or heal the deep wounds of so many, but I pray for the safety of innocent lives, always”.
Victoria Beckham raises her voice
British fashion designer Victoria Beckham also took to social media to share her thoughts on the situation at hand. Her statement read: “In this time of crisis, my thoughts are with the innocent victims of the recent unjust and barbaric attacks. These acts of brutal terrorism have left both Israeli and Palestinian civilians suffering. As human beings, we can’t help but be deeply affected by these harrowing acts. As a mother and as a woman, seeing the pain, suffering and loss of life on both sides is truly horrific. I stand with those around the world who seek an end to the violence and hatred. I stand for peace.”
Stella McCartney mirrors sentiments
Another British designer Stella McCartney made her support heard over Instagram, where she stated: “My heart breaks for the people and families who are being senselessly killed and brutalised right now. This is terrorism. You do not need to be Israeli. You do not need to be Palestinian. You need to be human. Now is the time to come together, not be driven apart. There is never an excuse to kill innocent people, and we can all agree on that.”
Mango closes nearly all stores
Spanish fashion retailer Mango is another to have opted to shutter its total of around 50 stores in Israel, where its retail network is managed by a franchise partner. This was reported by Fashion Network, which said that for the time being, four stores will remain open pending further developments.
H&M stores to remain shut until further notice
H&M’s store franchises in Israel are also believed to have closed, with a spokesperson for the Swedish retailer commenting that they would remain shut “until further notice”, according to Bloomberg. H&M currently has 24 stores in the region.
Lush sparks controversy
In contrast to the largely mutual sentiments shared, cosmetics brand Lush found itself at the centre of debate online after a “boycott Israel” sign was placed in the window of one of its stores. The message was shown in the retailer’s Dublin branch, and was shared by social media users who offered contrasting views on their perspective.
Responding to the decision, a spokesperson for Lush told UTV in a statement: "We are a diverse company with staff of all ethnicities and religions whose personal views and opinions may vary, however, the following is our company position.
"Lush deplores all violence and all injustice. Our wish is for peace and safety for all Israeli and Palestinian people. We support the upholding of international law and the human rights of all peoples."
CFDA ‘condemns’ attack
The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) issued its own statement in regards to Saturday’s attack, noting that it “stands with those determined to fight terrorism”. The organisation added: “We mourn the loss of life and pray for the cycle of violence to end for a lasting peace.”