Identity and cultural appropriation

When a person is isolated and detached from society, he loses his unique qualities, culture, doctrines that define the man. Society shapes man and makes sense of him. People can express who they are and who they want to be by the way they dress. Fashion affects appearance and can involve identity factors such as gender, ethnicity, lifestyle, and social class.

Identity is not something tangible or visible, it cannot be touched, smelled, tasted, or seen. However, many claims that its presence is so widespread today that almost everything has become a matter of identity. Television, radio, and newspapers explode every day with information about how the identities of many cultures or ethnic groups are threatened. People are starting to make meaningful decisions about what to wear and there is no standard formula for how this happens. However, it can be stated that the decisions made by each individual are influenced by the construction of their identity and their attempt to express themselves.

Therefore, the clothing of these individuals can bring explanations about the social and political problems that arise globally. The fashion industry needs to reset its practices, become more responsible for the collaboration between industry and ethnic communities. The globalized fashion industry has increasingly disconnected from these groups but continues to bring its textile processes and creative techniques closer to these communities, without providing credit. In many cases, both luxury and mass fashion contribute to the destruction and eradication of tradition, through incorrect descriptions of the product and manufacturing outside the communities where the inspiration comes from. These practices represent the symptoms of an industry that works at an unimaginable speed, that separates the creative process and no longer values ​​the one who makes, but the one who sells.

There are, of course, opportunities to adjust to these practices, to reconnect with artisans by protecting and conserving their talent, while preparing a path to a more sustainable future. Because this problem is a real one, there are organizations like Give (Back) Credit to the Heritage Communities, which try to raise awareness, disrupt the practices of cultural approach in fashion, while promoting and preserving the specificity and talent of artisans. They want to break down the barriers that prevent artisan communities from being included in the fashion industry when designing collections inspired by traditional artifacts. Clothing designers can take certain steps to avoid harmful practices: use respectfully by researching that culture, understanding the meaning behind a cultural expression and not changing it, give credit when appropriate, use as little of that culture as possible. Designers must also compensate with their own imagination, ask permission from the source community and create collaborations in order to have mutual benefits.

The postmodern society in which we live presents changes so frequent, so drastic, that an individual will find it difficult to adjust, he will know himself very late. In the search for personal or brand identity, man tends to make small mistakes that lead to cultural appropriation. Authenticity is a flexible concept that brands achieve, or not, depending on their specific heritage and myth.

Also, one cannot talk about the authenticity of the brand without questioning the authenticity of the consumer. The consumer seeks to compensate for the lack of identity, by following the identity elements of the brand. Therefore, a consumer who chooses to buy the fake, perfectly imitated copy, lacks personal identity, authenticity, originality.

Designer: the designina

Written by Evelina Tanasie

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