Cultural Appreciation Vs Cultural Appropriation Kim's Kimono to Rihanna’s China unveiling

August Issue of Harper Bazaar China

August Issue of Harper Bazaar China

August Issue of Harper Bazaar China

Credit: thetrademarkninja

Multicultural understanding is exactly what drives my blog, Diverse Customer. There is a thin line between appreciating the culture and appropriating it. As is evident I have written about this subject umpteen times. It keeps popping everywhere now primarily because of Diversity & Inclusion which is a serious topic in modern times and some global brands are realizing it that they can't stride the tide, no more :)

My role as a D&I professional is to put in place and maintain a wide range of initiatives and identify priorities for the brands and influencers I work with to ensure that their products and services are not exploiting any culture purely for financial benefit. This is true because big brands and celebrities cut and commercialize pieces of culture out of habit and entitlement. We have seen big fashion brands take inspiration for their fashion from different cultures without even acknowledging or even giving credit to the artisanal benefits they derive out of those cultures. That is pure exploitation. Just an example of how the appropriation persists.

Rihanna on the cover of August Issue of Harper Bazaar China is not cultural appropriation. Those in doubt should ask- Is she showing any disrespect or mocking the Chinese culture like Dolce & Gabbana did?

Is there any inappropriate in her poses or gestures in those clothes. I don’t see the problem except that it’s stunning! This is a collaboration with people of the culture she's portraying, so this definitely isn't appropriation. If there was an example of how to show appreciation for another culture, this is got to be it in my opinion.

Kim's Kim-oh-no act not as much. Kimono is the pride of Japanese culture. From the elaborate hand-work done on it to even the ritual of wearing a Kimono is special. It's not just a garment..its a tradition. Naming a solutionwear by taking away its cultural nuance and then seeking a trademark on the name that is an integral part of the Japanese culture is definitely culture appropriation.

For the sake of argument, culture is not anyone's private property. If someone wants to appreciate your culture, be gracious and compliment. Rihanna is not disrespectful and neither is Kim for that matter. However, symbols of other cultures are always appreciated by those who get exposed to them. Rihanna is appreciating the cultural heritage while Kim was trying to own it, cut and commercialize it by making it all about her. Actually, was, now that good sense has prevailed and she is changing the name of her shapewear line! After the backlash.

All peace now! - Amit Anand

Read some more if this topic interests you, my dear reader:

Amazon : Shame On You! Hindu Gods on toilet seats? This is definitely gross!

Dolce & Gabbana,The Chopsticks Controversy and The Ethnocentrism Row. Why #ChinaHatesDG 

Diverse Customer: The Dramatic Eye Rolling Moment: The Prom Dress, Qipao Vs the New Vultures of Cultures