Thursday, February 19, 2009
source: Marie Claire
Is it possible for fashion to borrow elements from a non-Western culture without obscuring that culture's identity? There is a difference in my mind between a designer incorporating a traditionally "ethnic" concepts (like beading for example) in his or her clothing and just copying something outright, stripping it of any cultural significance and say, placing it on the heel of a thousand dollar pair of pumps for some fashionista to hobble around on while not smiling.
Where that line is drawn is a trickier matter. Does it depend on how much the item costs or its function? I don't know for sure. I'm sure that I've bought ethnic "looking" things here and there without really stopping to think of who made it but there's just something about $1,400 pair of Dior shoes with graven images of mini-Africans that just seems to cross the line. Maybe I'm supposed to see something stylish and multi-culti when I look at these shoes, but in reality it just left me shaking my head in disbelief.