Late last year, two of Balenciaga's campaigns faced a seismic amount of backlash for allegations of being associated with child abuse. In response, the brand, and its parent company Kering, swiftly removed the imagery in question and issued multiple apologies with the promise to take tangible action against child abuse in a meaningful way moving forward.
The future of the brand has been unclear in the following months, but now, following the House's appearance on the AW23 Paris Fashion Week schedule, Balenciaga has announced a multi-year partnership with the National Children’s Alliance (NCA.)
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According to the brand, Balenciaga's partnership with the NCA will focus on three key pillars over the three-year period: Supporting National Children Alliance Mental Health Institute helping children heal from trauma by facilitating a significant increase in access to Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Training; Providing education for Balenciaga about child protection and actions adults can take to promote the safety and well-being of children; And raising public awareness on child abuse and child protection and promoting a happy, healthy childhood.
Reportedly, the support from Balenciaga will enable NCA to train nearly 2,000 professionals specialised in child abuse and up to an estimated 55,000 children will benefit by receiving evidence-based mental healthcare over the three-year program.
“There is a strong correlation between childhood trauma and negative health effects – from poor performance in school to increased risk of suicide to higher rates of diabetes, heart disease and cancer,” says NCA Chief Executive Officer Teresa Huizar. “This cycle can be interrupted and improved dramatically for children who receive evidence-based, traumafocused mental health treatment. For them, it can mean the difference between life and death, which is why Balenciaga’s and the Kering Foundation’s support for this program is so urgently needed.”
“We were confronted with the reality and magnitude of childhood trauma during our listening tour where we engaged with several leading organizations and experts in the field of childhood trauma,” says Cédric Charbit, President and Chief Executive Officer of Balenciaga. “Collectively, at Balenciaga we have listened and learned a lot through this experience, and we wanted to help, have a positive and lasting impact on children and their future who needed support but lacked access. We are grateful to support the work of NCA.”