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Fashion in the conspiracy era

The Balenciaga scandal has triggered one of the great fashion conspiracy movements on social media. Let’s deep into it.

The Balenciaga scandal has triggered one of the great fashion conspiracy movements in a social age where any kind of political discord or controversy can lead to extreme theories or conjecture.

Modern society, chronically connected to social networks, projects (or allows itself to be influenced) by a series of changing and ephemeral trends, which can make a brand like Balenciaga go from generating cult to hate in a matter of seconds. From the heart of the mainstream to a dark and marginal sphere related to child pornography.

The conspiracy theory linked to Balenciaga has led thousands of online users to fervently believe that the brand actively supports child trafficking. A whole belief or conjecture that arose after unveiling its Christmas campaign ‘Objects’ featuring a cast of children posing with stuffed bags dressed in sadomasochistic bondage clothing. A satanic action to which two other scandals linked to child pornography were added.


That conspiracy-slash-conspiracy trend has already plunged into the depths of Tiktok through the collective veneration of a child sexual abuse-related theory tweeted (on Nov. 21) by June Nicole Lapine. One that has even led to the creation of a specific hastag #BalenciagaChildren with more than 8 million archived clips of people burning, throwing or cutting the brand’s clothing.

Through that same disruptive mechanism, the spotlight was turned on another of the key figures in the Balenciaga universe, Lotta Volkova. The theories or conjectures of the network labeled the stylist as the accomplice of something non-existent, built on aversive judgments based on tweets or TikToks as sources of hidden truth.

In one of the videos, users highlight the friendship of Lotta and Gosha Rubchinsky, through their “pedophile condition”, while displaying a succession of photographs of boys under 16, linking them to gore, bondage and, by extension, to Balenciaga and a whole sinister, sectarian and sadistic oeuvre.


Despite all these accusations and various conspiracies, fashion throughout history seems to have been an expert in covering up scandals: from the return of Alexander Wang, free from accusations of sexual harassment and violence, to the anti-Semitism of John Galliano. All of it seems to be denounced, and instantly fade from the collective memory.

In this swamp of chaos and hatred, which can often be social networks, any unreal idea or concept can be validated by users who feed on conspiracies or crazy theories to be seen or stand out in the middle of this infinite ocean of content.

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