Trash just got an expensive glow up

Renata Bayazitova

More stories from Renata Bayazitova



Balenciaga knows how to make a bold statement by releasing Balenciaga tape, trash bags, and destroyed shoes for two months. These new products have made the public question the brand’s reasoning behind its new trashy items.

A top luxury brand prone to controversy recently decided that trash can turn into treasure by merely placing a hefty price tag. That brand is Balenciaga, which released destroyed shoes and trash bags for thousands of dollars. Did Balenciaga do this as a publicity stunt, to make a point, or just to show that they could? The message Balenciaga is putting out with these new items remains unclear.

“Fashion contributes to society by making a statement via clothing, similar to our voices, how we dress can send a powerful message,” Gabriel Kebede (11) said. “When I heard of them selling it on TikTok I thought it was a joke, it is a bizarre article of clothing that I think they did to grab the attention of their customers and throw people off their guard.”

Imagine an extremely old pair of shoes: covered in dirt, edges peeling off and looking as if they have survived a house fire, but the name Balenciaga is carelessly painted in black on the side. Some critics argue that Balenciaga is making fun of high fashion.

“I think it shows how much people are willing to pay a lot of money for something with no functional use for a big brand name such as Balenciaga,” Luke Mallory (12) said.

Of course, one controversy is never enough, so the next thing Balenciaga dropped this year was a $1,790 trash bag, setting off another viral storm amongst the public. However, this is not the first time Balenciaga has done something like this. For example, they dressed Lizzo for her Elle Magazine cover in their caution tape jumpsuit, released a crocs-shoes-inspired bag and even faced allegations for releasing clothing accused of cultural appropriation.

“I would not be surprised if this is a publicity stunt,” Rebekah Butler (12) said. “Balenciaga is not as prominent anymore because there are a bunch of new designers on the rise, especially with this year’s New York Fashion Week where we are seeing lots of amazing new designers.” 

The negative opinions from the public may be just what Balenciaga wanted to test out a new era of fashion. Recently, more big brands have been bringing their impractical, theatrical designs that normally never leave the runway into the public’s hands. For example, another prominent brand, Moschino, debuted a 2023 Ready-to-Wear Collection that features dainty vintage Chanel-inspired suits with pool floaty rubber attached to the bottoms of their garments. Luxury brands are known for their risky products, so Balenciaga may just be fulfilling its reputation for unpredictable designs.

“This would become a trend because in fashion shows I see people wear pretty absurd stuff, but it sometimes looks cool,” Mallory said. “It shows how crazy fashion trends are becoming because in fashion shows what the models wear seem so crazy that it is a Halloween costume at this point.”

Fashion can be a heavily criticized topic in society; people question its importance and constantly make fun of creative runway shows. It is controversial by definition and has the power to put part of a person’s personality on blast for the entire world to see. It is a tool that can be used for whatever a person wants it to be used for: showing off, comfort, scandal and confidence. It allows a person to be loud without speaking.

“Fashion is an art form, and however you feel that you should wear it, you should wear it,” Butler said.