As consumers, we tend to make our purchase decisions based on little more than what the hottest trend is, failing to see that as a result of this simple mindset, we often wear and display cultural symbols in an inappropriate way. When fashion designers commodify cultural or religious symbols, they cross the fine line between inspiration and cultural appropriation.
It’s everywhere, but it’s nowhere. What Urban Outfitters’ called a “vintage 90s linen dress” turned out to be directly reminiscent of Ethiopian ritual wear. What they launched as its line of “Navajo” items in 2011, including “Navajo” patterns on underwear and socks, turned out to be not Navajo patterns at all. That same year, Lisa Blue’s interpretation of the swimsuit, featuring a print of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, crossed the boundary into not only cultural misappropriation but also sacrilege... Read more