Appropriation Vs. Appreciation

By: Browntourage and Mo Juicy

When it comes to wearing or designing fashion based on other cultures, it’s hard to know if you’re being tacky, cool, or offensive. The dangers of cultural appropriation go beyond offending people, appropriation continues patterns of disempowering groups that are already marginalized. Looks shouldn’t be THAT important. Ideally, we can feel cute while empowering people with what we wear.

Well, before you put on that bindi, kimono, “street wear” or adorn yourself with cornrows, a headdress or turban, here’s some easy questions to ask yourself:

#1. What culture does this style reference, and what is my relation to that culture?

The most important thing to keep in mind, is that you’re part of a global community, so whether you mean it or not, what you wear has meaning connected to that global context. If what you want to wear references a culture that is experiencing or has experienced injustice, violence, or a traumatic colonial past, appropriating the culture can offensively repeat patterns of unequal give and take- especially depending on how your own culture/past is related to that trauma.

If the item in question finds its origins in a culture you’re not a part of, move onto question 2.

This article first appeared on InterruptMag.com (super cool site). Read the rest of the post here.

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