Is the disrespectful adoption of elements of the Muslim Women’s Hijab by the fashion clothing line, Banana Republic, an example of Cultural Appropriation?
Understanding the difference between cultural appropriation and appreciation is key. However, many profit making companies like Banana Republic are now exploiting minority cultures and benefiting from sales disguised as inclusion.
Banana Republic, the mainstream fashion retailer, is now offering a selection of hijabs. The headscarves are sold exclusively on the brand’s website, making Banana Republic the latest consumer brand to create products for Muslim women.
As a result, the new products brought mixed reactions and reviews on social media. Some people are clearly excited while others are calling for the closing down of Banana Republic stores in protest. Cultural appropriation is not made up, it is happening even today. Besides the Muslim Hijab, other current examples of cultural appropriation in 2019 fashion includes:
1. Maasai Shuka
2. African of Black American women’s Braids
3. Kenyan Kyondo
4. Muslim women’s Hijab
The main problem is that the adoption of cultural identifying elements is done without consent. What makes this worse is the demeaning and disrespectful presentation of the resulting products. Maybe if it would have been done right if Banana Republic had consent from the people who belong to that culture.
The difference between cultural appropriation vs appreciation is that Inclusion and Appreciation is the additional involvement of all parties during a cultural exchange thus creating a sense of ownership and recognition while Cultural appropriation, at times also phrased cultural misappropriation, is the non-consensual adoption of elements of one culture by members of a minority culture. Exclusion during this exchange can be controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from disadvantaged minority cultures.
Who draws the line between Inclusion and Appreciation vs Cultural Appropriation?