By Brittanie Gutierrez |Staff Writer|
It is wrong, in my opinion, for someone to wear specific garments that represents another culture when they do not understand the meaning behind what they are wearing. Traditional clothing and accessories have a bigger meaning than simply being a fashion trend.
Some fashion designers are notorious for taking inspiration from all over the world and coining them as their own creations.
Culturally insensitive stores, designers, and labels capitalize and exploit certain traditions for profit.
Unfortunately, we as consumers, buy into them because we pay little to no attention to the meaning behind what we are wearing.
What we fail to understand is that certain prints and pieces have a significant meaning to other people.
Stores like Urban Outfitters, H&M, and Forever 21 sell tribal items or “BoHo”-style clothing that mimics Native American cultures.
“Places like Urban Outfitters know what they’re doing. They sell controversy because they know people will buy it to be different and to be on top of the latest trend,” said student Anakaren Alba.
“It’s bad for a company to capitalize on something that means so much to me and my culture,” said Bessy Trigueros, a shopkeeper in Los Angeles.
Even music festivals, such as Coachella, provide a forum for the public to display their “unique” fashion sense.
Concertgoers wear body art, jewels, and clothing that have been culturally appropriated by said companies.
In my opinion, if I went to Coachella, I would dress in what is appropriate for the concert but not a Native American headdress, which can be perceived as disrespectful.
People walk around wearing headdresses or bindis without knowing what they represent.
Bindis are a traditional jewel worn by Southeast Asian women placed in the middle of the forehead to show they are Hindu and that they value their traditions.
Native American headdresses are a traditional display of how much authoritative power a tribe member holds. The bigger the headdress the more respected a person was.
I recently saw a music video for “Prayer in C (Robin Schulz Remix)” by Lilly Wood & the Prick and was confused when I saw people in the video with traditional Day of the Dead makeup and flower crowns.
Mexican culture and other Hispanic cultures celebrate the Day of the Dead to honor and pay tribute to family members who have died.
“It makes people more ignorant towards different cultures if a company sells insensitive items,” said student Brittany Wicker.
“If we continue to buy the products, social movements won’t be taken seriously,” said student Jonathan Abad.
I have gone to music shows where people put face paint on to glow with the lights or wear headpieces because it “looks Indie” and unique.
Cultures are appropriated and misrepresented by insensitive companies mocking their traditions and exploiting them for profitable reasons.
“If it would benefit the people of my culture then I’m all for it, but if it’s made by a random person in a different country and sold by a company that has nothing to do with my culture, and it’s not benefiting my people then I’m not for it,” said Trigueros.
“Have the respect to admire and appreciate another’s culture instead of appropriating it in the name of fashion or dress-up,” stated Jazmym Griffin from The Daily Texan.
I feel cultural fashions and traditions should be respected and understood before we go around wearing them because they are cool and hip.
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