The Use of Cultural Appropriation in Fashion
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Originally Posted by
I was thinking the other day about the use of cultural appropriation in fashion. It seems that so much of fashion is taken from a certain culture and then manipulated to mean something else. Cultural appropriation is described by wikipeida to be "the adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group. It describes acculturation or assimilation, but can imply a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture. It can include the introduction of forms of dress or personal adornment, music and art, religion, language, or social behavior. These elements, once removed from their indigenous cultural contexts, can take on meanings that are significantly divergent from, or merely less nuanced than, those they originally held."
In particular I was thinking about the use of certain aspects of Native American in relation to fashion. For it always seems that fashion designers are taking the designs of a certain culture but then changing it to fit their own desires. But in the case of Native American cultures (which is just one example of cultural appropriation) they are using symbols such as feather headdress's without perhaps realizing how offensive it is (or maybe they do realize this?). For example a headdress in this culture is something which should only be worn by tribe chiefs yet we have designers and editors who use them all the time. So I guess my question is do you think cultural appropriation is okay or no? Do designers realize what they are doing? Or has it just become so a part of fashion that no one cares anymore? I know this can be a touchy subject but I hope that we can talk about it in a pleasant manner and so that I can understand what others think about it too. Thanks!
I do have issues with this. Some days it's only slight, some days, it's huge. I can definitely understand that you draw inspiration from different things and places and everything, but sometimes it is taken too far. The recent D&G collection comes to mind. I also don't really like the editorials that take a white model and bring her into a poor community that is populated by people of color and have her pose there in expensive gowns while the locals standby. That's insensitive.
My basic issue with appropriation is this: Fashion is very unfriendly to people who are not white. Most of the models are white, most of the photographers, the designers, everyone is white, and it makes it seem like a cultural aspect of a person of color is only acceptable if it is being used/worn by a white person. (For instance: People in the US tend to discriminate against people of South Asian/Middle Eastern descent wearing turbans and headscarfs, yet when hipsters and the fashion-forward crowd wore them, they were cool and trendy.)
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