MEXICO DEMANDS ‘an explanation’ from Zara for cultural appropriation in their clothing designs. The Government of Mexico reported this Friday, May 28, that it addressed letters to Zara, Anthropologie and Patowl brands in which it stated their stance against the misappropriation of textile designs in various communities in the southern state of Oaxaca. In addition, they called on the firms to “publicly explain on what grounds a collective property is privatized,” making use of cultural elements whose origin is identified in various Oaxacan communities, as well as the benefits that will be rewarded to the creative communities.
As reported by La Informacion, in a statement, the Minister of Culture indicated that in the letters, signed by the head of the department, Alejandra Frausto, it is explained that it is “a principle of ethical consideration that, locally and globally, obliges to make a call for attention when such issues arise. In addition to putting matters on the table for public discussion in regards to an issue that cannot be postponed, such as protecting the rights of native peoples who have historically been invisible.”
Frausto commented that it also invites brands “to develop respectful work with indigenous communities, within an ethical framework that does not undermine the identity and the economy of the peoples and always in adherence to fair trade”, which places indigenous creators, entrepreneurs and designers on an equal footing.
In the case of Zara, the piece in question regarding cultural appropriation is the “Midi dress with V-neckline and short sleeves. Detail of contrasting combined embroidery. Belt tied in the same fabric. Hem with side slits”. This garment supposedly takes elements of the Mixtec culture, from the municipality of San Juan Colorado, Oaxaca, where the traditional huipil is part of the identity of the women, with each canvas being made from raw materials and woven on a backstrap loom.