Culture isn’t a (sexy) costume.
Victoria’s Secret received public backlash from Karlie Kloss’s Native American-esque ensemble worn in the yet-to-air Victoria’s Secret Fashion show. Images of the svelte Kloss hit the web adorning a feathered headdress reminiscent of traditional Native American garb complete with a fringe two-piece bikini and emerald jewels. The outfit is said to make a mockery of the culture and its women.
The popular beauty brand has released an apology and has pulled the look from the televised segment in December. Via their Facebook and Twitter, they responded to the backlash:
“We are sorry that the Native American headdress replica used in our recent fashion show has upset individuals. We sincerely apologize as we absolutely had no intention to offend anyone. Out of respect, we will not be including the outfit in any broadcast, marketing materials nor in any other way.”
To essentialize a culture through trends, particularly in a hyper-sexualized fashion as did Victoria’s Secret, perpetuates narrow depictions and understandings of other cultures and rids communities of their own agency.
Hopefully, this is a lesson learned for all.–Rachel Francois