Cultural Appropriation to Redefine Ethical Fashion

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Mexico’s secretary of culture has no time for fashion’s cultural appropriation. And she doesn’t consider it an homage.

In fact, Alejandra Frausto Guerrero has made it her business to call designer brands out for gaining from other cultures without giving back. What she wants is for the “indiscriminate” use of certain cultural elements without due credit or collaboration to come to an end.

“Brands such as Rapsodia, Michael Kors, Carolina Herrera, Isabel Marant and Louis Vuitton, among many others, have used the iconography of towns and communities not only from Mexico, but from other countries, without even having asked permission from the communities or without having them paid in some way,” Frausto told WWD. “As the government of Mexico, we have promoted an initiative for the protection of the collective rights of our communities, and the use of these cultural elements by fashion firms forces us to call for attention to promote inclusion and make the invisible visible, put them in the center.”

Isabel Marant was the object of the ministry’s most recent protective crackdown.

Late last month, Frausto sent a letter to the Paris-based brand accusing it of incorporating “elements of the culture and identity of the people’s and communities of Mexico” in its fall 2020 Étoile Isabel Marant collection. Its Gabin Cape, she wrote, imitates “the distinctive geometry of the Mexican sarapes and jorongos, which is traditionally used in various localities in Mexico, such as in the Purépecha communities of Michoacán; San Miguel Chiconcuac and Gualupita in the State of Mexico; San Bernardino Contla in Tlaxcala; the city of San Luis Potosí; Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, among others.”

Adding to that, she said, “Some symbols that you took have a deep meaning for this culture, whose language has no linguistic kinship with any other language in the world. This symbolism is very old and has been preserved thanks to the memory of the artisans.”

Source: Yahoo Lifestyle