carolina herrera accused of cultural appropriation by the mexican government
The brand is being called out for ripping off Indigenous textiles in its cruise 2020 collection.
Carolina Herrera Cruise 2020 via carolinaherrera.com
According to El País, Mexico's Culture Secretary, Alejandra Frausto, sent a letter of complaint to Carolina Herrera, and its creative director Wes Gordon, for the use of Mexican Indigenous people's textiles and motifs in their cruise 2020 collection. Frausto wanted the New York brand to "publicly explain" their use of "patterns that are part of the worldview of peoples of specific regions of Mexico," without any alteration. In particular, the Minister wanted the brand to "clarify whether the communities that carry these garments will benefit from the sales of the collection," which frankly is a rarity when this happens. "The embroidery comes from the community of Tenango de Doria (Hidalgo); in these embroideries is the history of the community itself and each element has a personal, family and community significance," said Frausto in the letter sent this week asking for justification.
Puig, the Spanish company that owns Carolina Herrera, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Nina Ricci, reported 2018 earnings of almost two billion Euros. "Many companies take advantage of Indigenous people's creations in an offensive way, with sacred ceremonial costumes used in fashion shows" explained Angelina Aspuac of the Women's Association for the Development of Sacatepéquez (which brings together Mayan weavers from Guatemala), at the International Forum for the Protection of Cultural Heritage as Collective Law that took place this week, and which precisely seeks to defend the work of Latin American artisans.
A spokesperson for Puig today responded rather blandly that “The emblematic fashion house recognizes the wonderful and diverse craft and textile work of Mexican artisans, its collection inspired by the culture’s rich colors and artisanal techniques." Wes Gordon, the house's creative director, said “My admiration for Mexican artisanal work has been growing over the years, most recently through my trip to the country. With this new collection I endeavored to honor this magnificent cultural heritage.” Which is great and all, but what next?
This article originally appeared on i-D ES.