“What is the different, Potter, between H&M and Balenciaga?”
The AI generated Balenciaga parody video by Demon Flying Fox became a YouTube sensation within a week, and a ‘how to’ tutorial surfaced using AI tools such as Midjourney and OpenAI. With the secret out, AI enthusiasts began churning out different variations of Balenciaga meme videos, from Marvel comic characters to Disney Princesses “by Balenciaga”. Think Balenciaga inspired oversized hoodies, bug eye sunglasses and exaggerated silhouettes matched with that kitschy Zoolander Blue Steel look.
Ironically, this fan-led buzz also nods to Balenciaga’s Demna Gsavalia collaborations with iconic pop culture “brands”: The Simpsons, Fortnite and the original ‘fugly shoe’ brand Crocs. Brand collaborations are nothing new, but Balenciaga collaborations are something else. The most unlikely pairings between mainstream culture that had previously been deemed too low for high fashion are suddenly the new hype on glossy fashion magazines, adorn by Gen-Z celebrities worldwide. And let’s be honest, only Demna Gsavalia’s Balenciaga can pull this off.
Fan Led Viral Videos Might Just Pull Balenciaga Out Of Its PR Slump
Balenciaga had hit a brick wall with its recent “Bondage Bear” campaign that featured a child carrying a teddy bear dressed in bondage attire. Despite apologies and a lawsuit threatening the ad production company responsible, the damage had been done, and public outcry to cancel Balenciaga was rife. Adidas was quick to act to react after the controversial break up with Kanye West, prompting the sports giant to suspend its collaboration with Balenciaga after rolling out their Balenciaga x Adidas collection.
In response to the PR crisis, the fashion house had to shake up a few things internally. The Balenciaga FW23 collection was logo free, and its runway production was noticeably sober, focusing on more ‘traditionally Balenciaga’ looks and forgoing the dramatic theatrics from previous collections.
But Balenciaga had the Gen Z wrapped around its finger. Dazzled by its iconic, supersized sneakers and the over-exaggerated, slouchy t shirts, it seems as though the consumer impression still lingers on the flashy, slogan streetwear styles from former Balenciaga collections.
Once the Harry Potter video hit the shelves, a barrage of ‘by Balenciaga’ videos followed, snowballing into a full-blown meme.
AI generated fan fiction has allowed Balenciagas’ fans to continue the humorous tone that recalls past collaborations and campaigns. This form of creativity highlights how AI technology such as Midjourney and OpenAI can be used, paying tribute to a world-renowned fashion house. As these creations spread across social media, it further demonstrates how much of an impact Balenciaga has had on its followers.