ENFNTSTERRIBLES

Zalando, MISBHV and KPH Team up to Shed Light on LGBTQ+ Community in Poland

Zalando has teamed up with Polish fashion collective MISBHV and NGO Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH) to shed light on the current state of the LGBTQ+ community in Poland. With this campaign, it is one of the first major brands or corporations to speak out against the recent violence against queer people in Poland.

In recent years, the situation for the LGBTQ+ community in Poland has been escalating to the point that the country now has several “LGBTQ ideology-free zones” and more. In recent months, the situation has intensified because of weekly protests, which led to numerous arrests and violent behavior from police and far-right groups.

Why are LGBTQ+ organizations protesting in Poland?

The weekend protests come amid intensifying anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric by government officials and state media after the recent re-election of President Andrzej Duda. The anti-EU populist leader was sworn in for a second five-year term as president on a strong anti-LGBTQ+ platform, branding LGBTQ+ rights an “ideology” worse than communism and proposing a “Family Charter”, including a vow to block legislation allowing gay couples to get married or adopt children. The charter also included a ban on “the propagation of LGBT ideology in schools and public institutions,” reminiscent of Russia’s notorious ‘gay propaganda law’ in 2013.

Since 2019, authorities in one-third of cities across Poland have adopted resolutions declaring themselves “LGBTQ ideology-free zones”.

Zalando “Clothes Reborn with Pride” campaign

According to KPH, 70 percent of LGBTQ+ people have experienced homo-, bi- and transphobic violence. At the same time, only 4 percent reported these assaults to the police. Zalando’s campaign titled “Clothes Reborn with Pride” tells the real stories of LGBTQ+ community members who became victims of violence due to their sexual orientation.

For the campaign, Zalando gathered clothes damaged during various acts of violence against LGBTQ+ people in Poland. It then gave the damaged pieces to the world-famous Polish fashion collective MISBHV to give them a new life and meaning. The unique five-piece collection aims to bring empowerment to the community, which continues to fight for recognition and equal rights in Poland.

The launch of the campaign video in Poland triggered a wave of hate speech aimed at the LGBTQ+ community. Governmental, conservative media published articles related to the campaign, writing about “German capital supporting homosexuals in Poland”.  *Alexa, play “Hoes Mad” by Famous Dex*

Legal and psychological help

“We believe that fashion can be not only a way of expressing yourself but also a lever to make people aware of something — in this case inequality and violence towards a specific group,” explains Dawid Pożoga, Regional Lead for Poland at Zalando. “Appearance, gender, or sexual orientation should never provoke violence. Therefore, we hope that this campaign encourages victims of violence to seek psychological and legal help.”

To further support the LGBTQ+ community, Zalando is sponsoring selected programs run by KPH dedicated to the people who experienced violence and seek mental and legal help.

The collection by MISBHV in collaboration with Zalando and KPH is not for sale and is purely made to make a statement against homo-, bi- and transphobic violence and to amplify Polish LGBTQ+ voices. 

Images and video by Zuza Krajewska

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