‘Designing’ Culture: Why Can’t Fashion Get It Right?

designing culture

What pops into your mind when you hear the terms fashion and culture in the same sentence? For me, it’s a series of the industry’s recent failures when it comes to cultural appropriation.

If you follow any fashion magazine or blog, I’m sure you can think of a few examples too. In 2015, Change.org issued a petition at Glastonbury against the usage of Native American headdresses, stating that another culture is not a costume to be worn by others purely for aesthetic effect. This has resulted in the festival banning the wear and sale of headdresses and is probably the first call-out of fashion’s cultural appropriation in modern times. Since then, the call-out became more rapid, with the help of the internet. Every season, there are always a few brands jumping headfirst into the fire. It seems like there really isn’t a winning situation in this for the industry. But then why are brands still doing it? Can fashion not learn from its mistakes rather than provide an empty apology each time it offends?

Read more about it in my article ‘designing culture’ in the latest issue of our print magazine, SOCIALight Magazine.

Useful Links

To learn more and support the Ainu people visit AinuToday

For fashion gossips and copy cat call-outs, follow Diet Prada on Instagram: @diet_prada

Read more about Pierre Cardin’s relationship with China

Explore the wonderful designs by Tamay & Me on their website

Further Reading: 

How Cultural Appropriation Became a Hot-button Issue for Fashion  – Tonya Blazio-Licorish and Obi Anyanwu

How Fashion Meets Culture – Mikelle Street

Three years after ad controversy, D&G is still struggling to win back China – Megan C. Hills

When Will Fashion Learn? Indigenous Cultures Aren’t A Pick n’ Mix Candy Bar – Clare Press

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