How fashion can fix its cultural appropriation problem

We ask young creatives of colour how to appreciate a different culture without stealing from it.

by Staff I-D
13 November 2019, 4:20pm

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For too long, the question of what constitutes ‘cultural appropriation’ has been taken out of the hands of the very people who’ve had the answers from the beginning. It’s a subject dissected by breakfast TV shows, vloggers and the mainstream press, and more often than not the voices with real authority are drowned out by the louder ones of privileged white people.

In this new episode of i-D Voices, we hand the mic back to young creatives of colour, and ask them what cultural appropriation really means, the damage it can do, and how to respectfully pay homage to rather than simply steal from a culture that is not your own.

The video features appearances from some of our favourite people on the British creative scene: young designer Eastwood Danso weighs in on call-out culture, while Kenneth Lam unpacks how the hallmarks of Chinese history have been transformed into a mere aesthetic for others to co-opt.

“Cultural appropriation is when you make it a costume, and it’s not coming from an authentic, genuine place,” Parvyn Choudhury, a model and member of She Lives Collective says. Meanwhile stylist and creative director Rhona Ezuma points out that her hairstyles only became “acceptable or trendy” when white celebrities gave it their influential co-sign. Together, they collectively dissect the roots of the problem of cultural appropriation, and offer sage advice on how we can do better.

Cultural Appropriation
i-D Voices