The fine line between appreciation and appropriation and it’s sometimes blurred

I love this article (please see link below)  as it hits all the key areas that I previously spoke about in my last post on Tommy Hilfiger’s 2016 Spring/Summer Collection. The article talks in depth about the culture you choose to represent in your works and how it’s important to pay homage to the people that have pioneered or lead in it’s development. As this is my culture I too feel strongly about large conglomerates like Tommy Hilfiger; mass producing a cultural identity. If we see Jamaica as a ‘key trend for Summer 2016’ does that then mean by the end of the fashion season we are no longer in trend (trendy)? I find it very difficult to view my culture as a fashion trend that comes in and out of fashion, based on the popularisation by main stream fashion houses and it’s link to the entertainment business. This often happens in the fashion industry but there is a fine line between what is classed as appropriation and what is viewed as appreciation and the whole collection straddles it multiple times. There is a key piece in the collection that features the Lion of Judah, which is a symbol of the Rastafarian region much like a Christian wearing a cross, or a Sikh wearing his gold Bangle, it’s a mark that signifies you belong to that religion and the lifestyle you choose to lead. By Tommy Hilfiger using such Iconography feels somewhat feels wrong and blasphemous.Image result for rasta lion of judah string vest

I would not dream of creating a digital print with the star of David as a pattern repeat as this would misrepresent the symbol, as being a icon of the ‘cool and trendy’. It’s not a fashion piece it’s a way of life born out a political divide, social and economic landscape etc. As I said earlier, I do love the collection in it’s entity I just feel like it has been delivered to the mass market in poor fashion.

I have taken inspiration from this collection of how better to educate both a domestic audience and travelling audience (tourist). Our Culture and History is rich and it would make for a interesting collection to appreciate this and pay homage. I will use the Rastafarian colours in my collection (red,gold and green) but will resolve the issue to not blaspheme a culture I love and what to celebrate.

http://www.styleandvibes.com/2015/09/is-tommy-hilfigers-ss-2016-collection-an-appropriation-of-jamaican-culture/

image credit: http://rastafairies.co.uk/shop/lion-of-judah-vest/

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