Luxury fashion brand Balenciaga is taking the internet by storm after launching its new Paris Sneaker line, offering “destroyed” shoes at sky-high prices.
The cheapest shoe in the range is the Paris Trainers Mule, starting at $635, and the most expensive pair comes in at $2,290 before taxes.
All of the sneaker designs legitimately look extremely worn, with “BALENCIAGA” spray-painted on the sides of their stained rubber soles.
And the Internet is simply do not to see her.
— Balenciaga (@BALENCIAGA) May 10, 2022
A Twitter user posted a photo of a shabby doll with messy makeup, what a Balenciaga Barbie would look like given the new trend.
Barbie Balenciaga pic.twitter.com/VByDnoX4QE
— Gonzalo Espin (@gonzaloespin) May 10, 2022
There are people who offer their own second-hand shoes, tagging Balenciaga so they can “resell them for a 600% profit”.
— lowercase j (@jAREDkESSEL) May 10, 2022
But joking aside, the tasteless shoe line highlighted how fashion brands often glorify what has come to be known as the “aesthetics of poverty.”
@BALENCIAGA Poverty is not something you hype https://t.co/pLYzNqyzeN
— Sarah Virani (@Sarah_Zuu_) May 10, 2022
Balenciaga has a ripped, worn and dirty clothing line called Distressed. Costing anywhere from $600 to a few thousand dollars for the obscenely rich to cosplay poverty. And they wonder why we say eat the rich. #Eat the rich #FuckTheRight
— Aud Andrews (@that_aud_guy) May 10, 2022
I also believe that Balenciaga is doing a social experiment to see how far rich people will go to buy nonsense in the name of fashion. https://t.co/d20Z3Qd8Gd
— Dr. Hard Guy ➐ (@Eslawal) May 10, 2022
Over the years, numerous research papers, video essays and articles have emerged highlighting the growing tendency to look poor or homeless.
The last major pop culture incident to accelerate this discussion happened in 2017.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have shared carefully selected low-quality photos of themselves with their children in a seemingly modest house.
The lighting is, for lack of a better job, of the non-influencer type, and there’s almost no furniture in the rooms. The celebrity family looks relaxed and also wears ordinary clothes.
This visual was shocking compared to the luxurious outfits, modern mansions and air of opulence you would normally see in photos from Kardashian posts.
In one of her video essays, British YouTuber Jordan Theresa called this trend a “working class aesthetic” and saw it as a form of gentrification.
But with Balenciaga’s shoe launch taking things to entirely new levels, people are wondering what the brand was thinking. Many are shocked that this is not some kind of prank.
Balenciaga must be a social experiment pic.twitter.com/HAhDEjQcIi
— kira 👾 (@kirawontmiss) May 10, 2022
Predictably, those who love trendy fashion and brand names are always in Balenciaga’s thrall.
I hate falling into trends, but Balenciaga boots are kinda incendiary😫
— 𝓜,000,000 (@6marymillion) May 10, 2022
Ethical debate aside, Balenciaga has earned a reputation for setting odd trends. In 2017, the brand created charm-studded Crocs that looked like a child’s art project. Last summer, she showed off her Crocs stilettos, which look more sinful than they appear.
Where did these products land the brand? In Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and several other major publications.
There really is no bad publicity.
TikTok fashion critic @ideservecouture thinks Balenciaga’s decision was brilliant. It explains how the brand takes advantage of your outrage.
“It’s the genius of Balenciaga. They want to piss you off,” @ideservecouture said in a video posted today. “They’re the biggest trolls in the fashion industry.”
@ideservecouture Balenciaga is the biggest troll and I love it @Balenciaga #balenciaga #parissneaker #fashion #fashiontiktok #demnagvasalia #sneaker #vogue #style #couture #catwalk #fashionreview ♬ Intentions (Instrumental version) [Originally Performed by Justin Bieber & Quavo] – Elliot Van Coup
He explained that the campaign photos feature extremely broken pairs of shoes purely as a marketing tactic. Shoes on sale are much less worn. However, technically, Balenciaga will be sell the extremely ripped shoes – just 100 “limited edition” pairs.
“Balenciaga, at this point, is counting on you to be pissed and talk about it; post it on social media like “Is this a joke?” “, He pointed out. “You do their marketing for them. Awesome.”