Being Heritage Day in South Africa, I thought I ‘d share my article on Cultural Appropriation in the context of African Fashion published in the September issue of SA Fashion Handbook.

Here are a few excerpts, from the article….

The way I see it, where appropriation in fashion becomes heated is at the intersection of commerce and culture. It simply comes down to this. Who makes money off of what?

So, when you take from someone or another culture typically without permission for your own use…read commercial commodification, there’s a thin line that is drawn…

A battle line.

Here’s why. It’s a clash of values. And systems.

Whilst we cannot police culture nor stop the fluidity and evolvement of culture, we can show and should show a heightened sense of sensitivity, some serious appreciation and respect towards what is not ours, or is different to us especially in regard to creative expression within a commercialized context.

That being said, in reality we need to navigate a world that is rapidly transforming, hurtling at once towards each other and away from each other.

In the process the exchange of ideas, styles, and traditions is pushing the multiple effect.

A multicultural, multi-‘everything’ world where if it is to thrive and survive we must learn to share for the mutual benefit of all. 

I would venture to say that perhaps designing the future starts with appreciation.

Keep reading … here

Image credits: A.A.K.S

Wearing duster coat by @bulbuliathreads, photo by @missvavavum


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