Cultural Appropriation: How Other Cultures Have Become Fashion Trends | Guest Post by Amy Mia Goldsmith

When a certain culture group adopts elements and tradition of another culture group and starts using (and wearing) them, it’s called cultural appropriation. This process is not always peaceful and lovely; one group is always oppressed while the other one is more dominant, and the oppressed group is the one that adopts the culture of dominant one. So it happens that all over America, Australia, Africa, and Asia white people start exploring almost forgotten cultures and trends they haven’t noticed before, only to discover the beauty in exotic traditions and fashion.

Masai beads

Masai use tehri beads to represent important things in life: family, cattle, village, warriorhood, marriage and social status, etc. Women get special wedding collars from their mother when they get married, and they use their beads to adorn themselves every day. Colours are also important since each colour has different aspect of their culture. Today, Western designers are in love with Masai people beadwork, and back in 1997 Ralph Lauren and Alexander McQueen used Masai beadwork in their collections.

Indian saree

As India grows to be noticeable and important in the world’s economy, and Bollywood as well among movie lovers, the saree, a traditional garment of Indian women, has been seen on a number of female celebrities on premiers, TV shows, and award ceremonies. Traditional saree is between five and nine yards long, and two or four feet wide, and it’s worn wrapped around your waist with one end draped around your shoulder. Today, beautiful Indian sarees can be embroidered, woven, plain, and printed, and can be made from anything, from silk and velvet to nylon and organza.

Aztec tribal prints

Before America was discovered, ethnic groups living in Central Mexico known as the Aztec civilisation left a permanent mark in history, but in fashion as well. No matter if we’re talking about runway couture or clothing shops in small towns, prints of bold shapes, incredible connecting of patterns and colours, have made this trend so fashionable and popular. The beauty of Aztec prints lies in the fact that they can be worn as a fashion statement all-over, and as a simple accessory in form of Aztec-print handbag, scarf, or a skirt.

Indian (Native American) pieces

Another print that has become more popular these past few years is the Navajo tribe print. Beautiful geometric patterns in amazingly vibrant colours have been incorporated practically everywhere: rugs, cocktail dresses, furniture, coats, and cardigans alike. A few other things coming from rich Native American culture (not only the Navajo people) are feathers, beads, dream catchers, and silver-turquoise jewellery. Dream catchers decorate our homes, and women from all over the world wear small pendants, earrings, or bracelets with dream catchers made of wire, silver, beads, etc.

Explore, experiment, and try out different things, learn about others and show your love and fascination by adopting traditions or by wearing clothes from other cultures. But in order not to offend anyone, you should first explore the culture that interest you and find out the stories behind different customs and pieces of clothes. Who knows, perhaps it is you who is going to be the next trendsetter?

About the Author
Amy Mia Goldsmith is an Australian literature student who loves to read and has been writing since she was little. Her passion is beauty and makeup and she loves to spend her free time travelling and of course….makeup shopping! Amy is a regular contributor at High Style Life. You can contact Amy on her Facebook page.