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When Does Cultural Appreciation Become Cultural Appropriation When it Comes to Marketing?

Cultural appropriation seems to be a phrase that’s coming up more and more frequently on social media, particularly in conversations surrounding the fashion industry. Many popular fashion companies such as Victoria’s Secret, Savage X Fenty, Gucci, and Prada have been accused of cultural appropriation in designs and marketing. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the practices, customs, or aesthetics of one social or ethnic group by members of another (typically dominant) community or society.” A deeper understanding of cultural appropriation refers to when people in the dominant culture in society take elements from a culture that has previously been systematically oppressed. This means that in 2012 when Karlie Kloss walked down the Victoria’s Secret Runway wearing underwear paired with a Native American headdress, suede fringe, and turquoise jewellery the Navajo people were deeply offended as the outfit disrespected and trivialised their culture. When designers take inspiration from other people’s cultures, it lets them show a love for the cultural aesthetic. The caveat of that is that often, in doing so, these designers remain prejudiced against its people. Continue reading When Does Cultural Appreciation Become Cultural Appropriation When it Comes to Marketing?

Interview: Kia from Nudes By Kia

As part of RAZZ’s SHAG Week, Caitlin Barr had the privilege of interviewing creator Kia, the founder of the queer owned UK business Nudes By Kia, which turns “people’s own nudes into wearable art”. Caitlin and Kia spoke about the genesis of their business, and why they think that reclaiming and celebrating your body is so important. Their discussion follows: Continue reading Interview: Kia from Nudes By Kia

An Elegy for Topshop

The pandemic has claimed its latest victim. First it was Debenhams and now it’s ‘Big Topshop’. The Oxford Street Aladdin’s cave, filled with bubble tea, crop tops in twelve different colors and pulsating tunes is no more. London has lost a landmark, a teenage haven and the ‘one-stop shop’ of fashion. With news of the closure of Topshop’s flagship store coming just a month after the Arcadia group announced it was going into administration, the decline of this fashion house is on very palpable horizons. Topshop is, I do not dispute, a contributor to fast fashion (see here for tips on all important sustainable shopping), but it is also a brand with enormous cultural and personal significance; it exists for many millennial’s and Gen Z’s as the uniform of their teens. Continue reading An Elegy for Topshop

Challenging Fashion Boundaries and Showcasing Minority Creators

The December issue of Vogue US saw Harry Styles grace its cover, making him the first solo male to front the magazine in Vogue’s 128-year history. Whilst it may not be surprising that Styles was chosen for the cover of Vogue magazine considering the success that 2020 has had in store for him, the shoot instantly became a defining moment in fashion history. The cover photo shows Styles wearing a classic double-breasted black Gucci jacket over a custom-made baby blue, lace Gucci dress (designed by Gucci’s Creative Director and Styles’ close friend, Alessandro Michele). Naturally, an image of a man wearing a dress on the cover of the world’s most notorious fashion magazine drew headlines and ruffled a few feathers. The most famous quote that this image bore was Candace Owens’ tweet “bring back manly men.” This controversial quote lead to an onslaught of praise in support of Styles, as well as some right-wing commentators supporting Owens. Whilst it is evident that 2020 has proven that masculinity is no more than a concept formed by societal norms, it is also worth considering if Styles deserves the praise that he has been given. Continue reading Challenging Fashion Boundaries and Showcasing Minority Creators

Reviews in Retrospect: Wales Bonner Spring 2021 Collection

British fashion designer, Grace Wales Bonner’s Spring 2021 Menswear collection is a beautifully retro, jewel-toned tribute to her Jamaican heritage. The Central Saint Martin’s graduate regularly explores black culture through her designs, and her most recent collection takes inspiration from early-1980s Jamaica, and dancehall and reggae culture. Wanting to put her own spin on this, she looks to her upbringing in London and adds a British twist to her Jamaican roots. Continue reading Reviews in Retrospect: Wales Bonner Spring 2021 Collection

The Fashion Industry: Ignoring the Plus-Size and Petite Communities

It is common knowledge by now that the fashion industry is not as inclusive as it could and should be. One of the areas of fashion that lacks inclusivity is the sizing range that clothing stores and companies offer to customers. ‘Regular’ sizes in the UK consist of anything between a size 6 and a size 16. Anything outside of this ‘regular’ sizing is then considered to be petite or plus-sized. Whilst the fashion industry is trying its best to be inclusive by featuring petite and plus-size ranges as parts of their collections, it doesn’t always hit the mark. Continue reading The Fashion Industry: Ignoring the Plus-Size and Petite Communities

Bleed Greener: Sustainable Alternatives to Fast Fashion, the World’s Best-Dresser Polluter

In recent years, consumers have demanded more and more from the fashion industry. They clamour for greater quantities of garments to fill their already-bursting wardrobes, to keep up with fleeting TikTok fashion trends and, most importantly, to appear on their well-curated social media accounts. The fashion industry has undergone a significant shift in recent years, rapidly adapting to the purchasing habits of modern consumers. Above all, people are seeking more clothing than ever before, and this sartorial excess comes at the cost of the environment. Continue reading Bleed Greener: Sustainable Alternatives to Fast Fashion, the World’s Best-Dresser Polluter

Why Princess Di is still at the Forefront of Fashion

When you think of 90s fashion, what first comes to mind? Cycling shorts, baggy sweatshirts and high-waisted jeans? Oversized blazers, scrunchies and tiny shoulder bags? If you’re thinking that sounds like a rundown of what you’d see walking into Urban Outfitters, you’d be correct. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a revival for all things vintage – and no-one exuded 90s cool better than Princess Diana. Continue reading Why Princess Di is still at the Forefront of Fashion

Problematic Lockdown Shopping Habits

Finding ways to deal with lockdown boredom can sometimes feel like a pointless endeavour. However, many have taken to online shopping as a remedy to quell such mundanity. As the ‘physical’ fashion industry has taken a slight pause with the cancellation of summer fashion shows and September fashion weeks looking increasingly unlikely, the virtual fast fashion world has kept charging on at its usual unsustainable speed. PFS discovered in a recent survey of 2,000 Brits that “three in five (60%) consumers have purchased more goods since the lockdown began, than they did before, with 53% having shopped more online”. Moreover, the report outlined that “more than three quarters (77%) of these […] expect they will continue to purchase online more once the lockdown is over – indicating a potentially irreversible change in consumer purchasing behaviour”. But what does an “irreversible change” in UK consumer behaviour mean for the employees at the bottom of the supply chain and the environment? Continue reading Problematic Lockdown Shopping Habits