'Elle' Canada Faces Social Media Backlash for Cultural Appropriation

Here we go again.
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Alyssa Vingan Klein
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Here we go again.
Photo: ellecanada.com

Photo: ellecanada.com

It's not uncommon for fashion designers (and, in some cases, editors) to cross some sensitive social barriers in the name of a collection or trend story. Cultural appropriation is so pervasive in the industry that it's almost hard to keep up. The last few years has furnished plenty of examples between DSquared2's Native-inspired "Dsquaw" show, Givenchy's "Victorian Chola" beauty lookChanel's American Indian headdresses, Elle.com's piece on the revival of the Timberland boot and the debut of Kylie Jenner's cornrowed hairstyle earlier this summer.

While Internet backlash occurs almost instantly in every case, you'd think that fashion editors would think twice — or maybe 50 times — before writing about a "trend" that's long held a place in the wardrobes of certain races or communities. Alas, it appears that the editors of Elle Canada did not; after posting a story that claims "dashikis are the new caftans," the glossy has come under fire on social media.

The magazine posted a tweet last night (that has since been removed) to tout its trend story, and needless to say, readers were not pleased:

A dashiki is a garment that has West African roots, and isn't something that should be considered "in" or "out" of style, as it's long been an integral part of black culture and can be worn by both men and women. Sure, celebrities photographed wearing the same type of garment over a short period of time can inspire shoppers to follow suit, but juxtaposing an example of Beyoncé — who is African American — with one of Sarah Jessica Parker in a matching look can prove, as we've seen, very problematic.