Mexico accuses 3 international brands of cultural appropriation
The federal government has accused three international fashion brands of culturally appropriating indigenous Mexican designs.
The Culture Ministry said in a statement it had sent letters to Zara, Anthropologie and Patowl in which it expressed its opposition to “inappropriate cultural appropriation” and called on each company to provide a public explanation detailing “on which base it could privatize collective property. , using cultural elements whose origin is identified in several communities of Oaxaca. “
The ministry also called on global brands to detail “the benefits that will accrue to creative communities”.
He said Zara, a Spanish brand, used a distinctive Mixtec pattern in one of its dresses. The motif in question comes from San Juan Colorado, a municipality in southwestern Oaxaca.
Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer and owner of Zara, dismissed the charge of cultural appropriation in a statement sent to Reuters news agency.
“The design in question was in no way intentionally borrowed or influenced by the art of the Mixtec people of Mexico,” he said.
The Ministry of Culture also accused Anthropologie, an American brand, of using “distinctive and characteristic elements of the culture and identity of the Mixed people of Santa María Tlahuitoltepec, Oaxaca”.
The ministry said the offending garment was the brand’s Marka embroidered shorts.
In the case of Patowl, another American brand, several printed shirts have been identified as “faithful copies of traditional clothing of the indigenous Zapotec people of the community of San Antonino Castillo Velasco, Oaxaca, where the pieces are handcrafted with the technique called “Hazme si puedes” [make me if you can]The ministry said. “This name reflects the complexity of the manufacturing process, which consists of several stages.”
Reuters said neither URBN, the owner of Anthropologie, nor Patowl responded to his requests for comment.
The Culture Ministry said its letters, signed by Culture Minister Alejandra Frausto, were part of its actions to “defend the cultural heritage of indigenous communities to prevent the plagiarism of their identity elements by national companies and transnational ”.
The federal government and other authorities have already accused several other international brands of plagiarizing indigenous Mexican designs.
Among them are Zimmerman, Isabel Marant, Carolina Herrera, Mango and Pippa Holt.
Some like Herrerra and Marant have said their designs were made in tribute out of admiration for Mexican culture (although Marant ultimately apologized for appropriating Purépecha’s work). Holt insisted that she had done nothing wrong, that she was paying individual Oaxacan artisans above market price for the rights to their designs. One company, Louis Vuitton, has changed tack by connecting its customers with artisans in Oaxaca, who receive payment directly from those customers for the work they do on Vuitton products.