As they say, fashion is personal and so is its interpretation. Recently, Australian womenswear brand Zimmerman, known for its feminine and floral frocks, came under fire for cultural appropriation. Last week, the fashion label announced the release of its resort swim ‘21 collection. Amongst all other exotic pieces, a printed tunic dress caught netizen’s attention and for all the wrong reasons.
The outfit in question bore a quetzal bird motif, panels and floral combinations that bore resemblance to a traditional Mexican dress. Many users accused Zimmerman of culturally appropriating a traditional Mexican number bearing similar embroideries and textiles used by the local artisans of Huautla de Jiménez in Oaxaca for hundreds of years.
— ZIMMERMANN (@ZIMMERMANN_) January 12, 2021
This is cultural appropriation and plagiarism. Stop stealing the designs of Mexican artisans.
— Andrea Biestro (@AndreaBiestro) January 12, 2021
Did y’all commission an indigenous person to design this? If not, y’all are straight up thieves and appropriating a culture. You should be embarrassed to even think this was going to fly without paying respect to the origins of this design. Gross.
— Lupe (@_Luupay_) January 13, 2021
Well, this is plagiarism, cultural misappropiation and aesthetic extractivism.
Have you got any permission from the Ha Shuta Enima (Mazatec) people to exploit their textile designs?#StopCulturalMisappropiation
— Patricio Romeu (@PatrocloRomaios) January 12, 2021
Soon after the backlash, Zimmerman took down the dress from its website and issued an apology on its social media handle. “Zimmermann acknowledges that the panelled tunic dress from our current Swim collection was inspired by what we now understand to be a traditional garment from the Oaxaca region in Mexico. We apologize for the usage without appropriate credit to the cultural owners of this form of dress and for the offense this has caused. Although the error was unintentional when it was brought to our attention today the item was immediately withdrawn from all Zimmermann stores and our website. We have taken steps to ensure this does not happen again in future."
The fashion label further stated that it has ‘reached out to and met with the Instituto Oaxaqueno de las Artesanias, the government body that represents the artisans of the Oaxaca region, offering a formal apology.’ “We are currently working with them towards a suitable solution.”
(Source- Instagram, Twitter)