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Carolina Herrera walks the runway during New York Fashion Week in September 2016. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)

Discord

Mexico accuses designer Carolina Herrera of cultural appropriation in new fashion line

By WITW Staff on June 14, 2019

The Mexican government has taken issue with Venezuelan fashion designer Carolina Herrera’s latest collection, demanding an explanation for her use of indigenous Mexican designs.

The fashion label says its new resort collection “takes on the playful and colorful mood of a Latin holiday” and focuses on “delight-eclectic patterns, unexpected silhouettes, pulsating energy,” according to The Guardian. The line prompted Mexico’s culture minister, Alejandra Frausto, to ask the brand to explain why it is using designs “whose origins are well documented.”

In a letter sent to Herrera and the company’s creative director, Wes Gordon, the culture minister said, “This is a matter of ethical consideration that obliges us to speak out and bring an urgent issue to the UN’s sustainable development agenda: promoting inclusion and making those who are invisible visible,” according to The Guardian.

The letter zoomed in on specific designs, The Guardian reported, citing Spanish newspaper El País. It said a long white dress embroidered with bright animals and flowers was derived from the culture of the Tenango de Doria community in Hidalgo state, “where each piece of embroidery tells the story of the community and each element has a personal, family, or community meaning.” Two other dresses, it said, involved elements from the traditional shawls of Saltillo in Coahuila state.

Herrera said in a statement that the collection is a “tribute to the richness of Mexican culture” and its craft techniques, according to The Guardian.

Gordon, the creative director, said, “There’s an undeniable Mexican presence in this collection. It’s something that jumps out at you, and I always intended it to be something latent as a way of showing my love for this country and for all the incredible work I’ve seen there.” He added, “My admiration for the artisanal work has only grown as I have traveled to Mexico over the years. With this new collection, I have tried to highlight the importance of this magnificent cultural heritage.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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