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Mexico accuses fashion house Carolina Herrera of cultural appropriation

 

Reuters

Mexico City  /  Thu, June 13, 2019  /  02:03 pm
Mexico accuses fashion house Carolina Herrera of cultural appropriation

This file photo taken on February 10, 2014 shows fashion designer Carolina Herrera waving to guests after her show during the Mercedes Benz Fall/Winter 2014 Fashion Shows in New York. (AFP/Don Emmert)

The Mexican government has called out fashion house Carolina Herrera for the "cultural appropriation" of indigenous patterns and textiles from Mexico in its latest collection.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

@carolinaherrera resort 2020 por @wesgordon Wes Gordon, quien lleva un año frente a Carolina Herrera, destaca en la generación de diseñadores jóvenes inyectando energía y trayendo al presente el ADN de casas neoyorquinas. Para la colección resort de Herrera, Gordon cita Oaxaca como una de sus fuentes de inspiración, de la propuesta destaca un vestido en jersey con estampado de sarape. Los looks propuestos por #WesGordon presentan la versión #CarolinaHerrera de distintos elementos de varios trajes típicos mexicanos que se fusionan con la pregunta que el diseñador se ha estado haciendo desde que fue nombrado Director Creativo de la casa de moda: ¿Cómo se viste una dama en el tiempo contemporáneo y la era del hype? Gordon contesta incorporando Herrera-ismos como las mangas abullonadas, vestidos voluminosos pero prácticos y retransformando la camisa blanca (ícono de la casa Herrera) para crear piezas auténticas a la esencia de la casa y que se leen como frescas. A lo largo de la colección Gordon también jugó con la sastrería, creando piezas sólidas pero con una sensibilidad inherente, sastrería para mujeres, no sastrería que aspira a decirle a las mujeres ‘MAN UP!’ Gordon nos dice que la dama actual no solo es una socialité que atiende galas y con esto, trae a Herrera al presente.

A post shared by GUILLERMO FONSECA (@fashiontheorist) on

The culture ministry said in a letter dated June 10 that the brand founded by Venezuela-born designer Herrera had used designs with meanings that were personal or specific to some families and communities.

The ruling party, the leftist National Regeneration Movement, has been planning legislation to protect indigenous communities from plagiarism and having their work used by others without receiving fair compensation.

The letter was addressed to Herrera, who gave up creative direction of the New York-based fashion house last year, and Creative Director Wes Gordon.

Read also: From parkas to luxury silk, businesses tackle cultural appropriation

In it, the ministry demanded that Herrera "publicly explain on what basis it decided to make use of these cultural elements, whose origins are documented, and how this benefits the (Mexican) communities."

Representatives for Herrera, who has dressed U.S. first ladies and members of the British royal family, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Two of the six garments from the Resort 2020 Collection feature a traditional flower embroidery known as "istmo de Tehuantepec" and another two use a colorful "Saltillo Sarape" stripe pattern, the ministry noted.

"We feel obliged to draw attention to this and start a public conversation about an urgent matter that features on the United Nations 2030 agenda for sustainable development," the letter said.

The fashion house described the collection as having "the playful and colorful mood of a Latin holiday."

The extent to which fashion designers have profited from incorporating cultural designs either without acknowledging their origins or fairly compensating communities has been a point of contention in recent years.

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