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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

FOUND - Sincerest Form of Flattery?


I find ethnic-inspired fashion captivating. It engages my imagination and sets me off wondering, probing, researching. Whether a mock jade necklace or a tartan scarf, a java print blouse or Native American beaded bracelet, I'm drawn to styles that tell a story other than my own. I'm well aware that "the story" is highly managed and edited by the Fashion Industry. Very few of my ethnic fashions are authentic - made AND worn by the cultures they claim to represent. These 2nd-hand finds are a re-telling, a fashion adaptation. But is there anything entirely original? Influence can be subtle but it's unceasingly influential. In fact it seems to me the Fashion Industry would self destruct if it weren't able to call on the creative output of other cultures. That said, non-Western manufacturers, large and small, are producing ethnic fashions for a real and virtual tourist market CLICK HERE. They're adding their own twist - often an act of subtraction - to their own culture, Westernizing their fashion output to suit our perceived tastes. And what of designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Issy Miyake? Rather than capitalizing on the stereotypical exoticism of their culture, they travel a very personal creative road, in an effort to navigate their idiosyncratic vision rather than ethnicity's preordained path. My fake jade necklace - made of stone - was £4.99 at Oxfam in Ealing. A fiver for your thoughts on ethnic-inspired fashion?


Peace, Love and Daisy Chains said...

Hi! I have always loved adding ethnic influences to my style, often things which I have picked up on my travels, but I'm a huge fan of South American textiles and have made a few things from Argentinean material.

One thing that has started troubling me recently is talk of misappropriation - I think there had been a big furore particularly around brands like Urban Outfitters selling Native Amerucan inspired accessories for a profut, but not taking into account the meaning of such accessories in the original culture. For example, headdresses look really cute, but it is quite offensive for non native Americans to wear them because they are only bestowed on certain individuals.

I think it's a fascinating topic, and does make me wonder about whether it is ok for me to wear certain items, yet I feel that incorporating items from my travels is a way of honouring the cultures I have come across.

Anmarie said...

Thanks for your interest in the subject and thoughtful response. It's such a complicated issue that deserves more discussion. BUT I feel like we're on the right track by at least it giving it a 2nd thought. Again thanks!