Time after Time – Cultural Appropriation in Fashion: A Running List

This is my own personal, running list of cultural appropriation that I have come across in my consumption of the fashion industry.

Some of them are from designers we all know and love and some of them are not but… if it is cultural appropriation, no matter how egregious, I will post. I may or or may not comment on the looks depending on how I feel. But if I feel it needs to be shared, as a Black girl who has been reminded that my Blackness was not welcome in spaces my whole life, I will point out the hypocrisy of the fashion world where and when I see it.

Wikipedia says that cultural appropriation is the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of an element or elements of one culture or identity by members of another culture or identity. This can be controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from minority cultures.

The most important part of that definition is the second sentence. Cultural appropriation hurts the most when the element is something the minority culture is demonized for but is celebrated when the dominant culture decides to adopt it. When a piece of my cultural identity, heritage, or symbol of my race or ethnicity is “bad” until a white person decides it’s trendy that is infuriating and unfair. Please keep that in mind as you take in this list.

PS: This is not going to be in any sort of chronological order. Deal with it.

1.) Look 18/25 from Schiaparelli Spring 2021 Couture via Vogue.com

I know you’re thinking… okaaayyyy what’s wrong with this? Well this is the look that honestly inspired this post and will make me continue to post. We all know that I love Schiaparelli but long, adorned nails are something that Black women have been doing and getting flack for since they really came in to style in the late 80’s early 90’s. Now, with the rise of Hip-Hop culture and social media it has been something that popular culture has begun to celebrate more and more. This new fad started to take off in the late 10’s but I can remember girls being called ghetto, tacky, and even getting in trouble when I was in high school for having long nails. But now here we are with this. What a joke.

2.) Comme des Garçons Fall 2020 menswear show

I will never, as long as I live forget this look. Never, never, never. I just can’t believe it. I can not believer someone thought this was okay. I also can not believe someone sat there and put ALL OF THESE TEENY TINY BRAIDS IN THESE WIGS AND NOT ONCE DID SOMEBODY SAY, “HEY, DO Y’ALL THINK THIS MIGHT BE A BAD IDEA? LIKE IS THIS A LITTLE WEIRD TO Y’ALL?” Like I just can not believe this. I hate it so much.

3.) KTZ makes a sweater using Inuit design

Why? Just why? Why would you make an exact replica of someone’s religious garments? Just freaking why?

4. Valentino Spring-Summer 2016 campaign

I just wish that the folks that thought that of these lines and put so much thought into creating them would consider how some of the images the conjure up would look to the rest of us who must consume them. This picture is more insulting than anything else. I honestly haven’t seen the rest of the offering but just ugh.

I hope you learned something from this post but I humbly ask you not to argue with me in the comments. It won’t end well. Thank you.

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