Fashion designer Ralph Lauren apologizes for cultural appropriation

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Mexico’s First Lady has accused the fashion mogul of using patterns and designs from Mexico’s indigenous communities such as the Saltillo.

  • Fashion designer Ralph Lauren (Business Insider)

Designer Ralph Lauren issued an apology on Friday after Mexico’s First Lady Beatriz Gutierrez accused his US fashion house of plagiarizing indigenous designs, as she demanded compensation for local communities.

Mexico regularly denounces what it considers plagiarism by foreign designers, such as Lauren, for the use of patterns, embroidery and colors belonging to native indigenous communities. Lauren was not the only fashion house against which a complaint had been filed, as they included major clothing brands such as Zara, Mango and SHEIN.

In her statement, Lauren said: “We are deeply sorry this has happened and, as always, we are open to dialogue about how we can do better.”

First Lady Gutierrez, a journalist and writer who also heads a cultural affairs commission, said in an Instagram post, “Hey Ralph: We’ve already realized you really like Mexican designs,… However, by copying these designs, you are committing plagiarism, and as you know, plagiarism is illegal and immoral”.

She posted a photo of a jacket designed by Lauren that she said matched the design of the Mexican communities of Contla and Saltillo. “At least acknowledge it. And I hope you will compensate the home communities who do this work with love and not for a million dollar profit,” she added.

  • Instagram post by Gutierrez (Fashion Network)
    Instagram post by Gutierrez (Fashion Network)

In light of this, Ralph Lauren’s statement expressed shock at the sale of the jacket, adding: “When our team discovered months ago that this was part of our product pipeline, we issued a Strict directive to remove the article from all channels.”

Mexico has already won apologies for the same reasons, such as that of French designer Isabel Marant in 2020 for the use of traditional patterns from an indigenous community located in western Mexico.

Issues such as the case of Lauren and other fashion houses using patterns and designs from other ethnicities and communities without acknowledging or giving credit could lead to cultural appropriation – a major issue facing the United States recently. as African American, Arab, and Latin American cultures are strung together at festivals. like Coachella in California or Burning Man in Nevada.

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