Creative cultural appropriation

We dress in part to express identity and alignment with our tribes. But is it cool to dress in attire from a tribe that is not our own. Is it radical self-expression or is it profoundly disrespectful?

There are many diverse cultures in the world that we can borrow from as we forge our own identity. Cultural appropriation has gotten a bad rap when items sacred to a culture are used offensively, whether or not on purpose. As respectful citizens of the world, we should be sensitive to the sacred. Appropriating sacred items for fashion crosses the boundary of decency for most of us.

Wearing a casual khaki kilt will not offend Scots, but wearing the tartan of a family you don't belong to may irritate that clan. Wearing feathers in a hat is legitimate decorating, for a non-native to pair a war bonnet with a bikini is deeply offensive. Wearing body paint is a great way of self-expression, but if it's blackface minstrel makeup or war paint, it is insulting. Don't be that person.

We offer examples for your inspiration that we believe incorporate or pay homage to our basic tribal nature without misusing sacred items.

(Click the photo for the full view and more information.)

Photo © Lacy Kiernan

Photo: © Scott London

Design by Felix D'Eon

Family of giraffes.

Photo: © Scott London

Beautifully crafted headdress.