Cultural Appropriation as Trendy Festival Attire

Festival season is upon us and the trendy outfits are all the rage. Festival attire usually consists of funky sunglasses, colorful skirts and crop tops, but the latest and longest trend has been cultural apparel, such as American Indian headdresses.

Free People and Urban Outfitters, both owned by URBN, have had issues with their lines and culture appropriation in the past, especially with the festival shop trend section of their store.

This issue has been a topic of interest for years since Coachella, South By Southwest and other festivals have become hot tickets. In an article by Mic, author Zak Cheney-Rice explained why American Indians are directing barbs at Coachella.

Coachella, along with everything else in this country, takes place on land that was stolen from American Indians as part of a massive multi-generational genocide, the impact of which persists today. Natives face disproportionately high rates of alcoholism, suicide and depression, among other things. If they say they don’t want you treating their culture like your own personal Halloween party, do humanity a favor and listen.”


blog 2  blog 3

Meme’s created by Internet users have floated around like the ones above.

One article from 2010 states the reasons why you shouldn’t wear a headdress, including:

  • Headdresses promote stereotyping of Native cultures.
  • Headdresses, feathers, and warbonnets have deep spiritual significance.
  • It’s just like wearing blackface.
  • There is a history of genocide and colonialism involved that continues today.


Cultural appropriation not only affects the American Indians but also for Hindu women who wear bindis.

Vanessa Hudgens is one of the celebrities often blamed for these “trends” in fashion, as well as Kylie Jenner. The celebrities think these are fashion statements when in reality these are items people wear to represent and distinguish their culture.

blog 4

This has been a reoccurring issue that is here to stay. Do you think companies are aware of this issue and just continue to produce these products? How do you think companies should go about this? Who allows these products to be produced?

This entry was posted in Red Rock Communications. Bookmark the permalink.