Posts Tagged ‘exploitation’

Halloween is definitely the most entertaining of holidays. When done right, it is inventive, fun and at times horrifying. However, there is a bad side to the clearance people feel during Halloween. Inventive can be mistaken for other things, and costumes can easily cross lines and offend.

Let’s start with the good. Since trick-or-treating has a cutoff age, adults and college students find other ways to partake in the festivities, usually in the form of costume parties. Celebrities, with their resources of makeup artists and designer friends to create costumes for them, tend to have some incredible costumes when they put their minds to it. Here are a few of my favorite costumes from this year’s festivities:

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For the past few seasons, prints have been all the rage, particularly with the rise of the leopard print. Prints come in all varieties, and recently, the advent of technology in fashion has brought us digital prints, which are incredible. There are types of prints that come and go, yet have no dictionary name. And in those cases, people begin to invent names so these prints can be identified. Makes sense.

Well, sometimes those names can be offensive and create a whole lot of drama. For example, the Navajo print. The Navajo Nation trademarks the name ‘Navajo;’ therefore it cannot be used without their permission. Again, makes sense.

When Urban Outfitters decided to name panties “Navajo Hipster Panties,” a lawsuit followed and forced them to change the name. To some, this may sound like nitpicking. But I completely agree with the Navajo Nation’s right to maintain their name and not be used as another fashion statement that does not represent them. I get the same feeling when designers decide to go on ‘inspiration trips’ to foreign places, for example Africa, come back and create garments using fabrics and designs that belong to other cultures without ever giving them credit. Unfortunately, not everyone has a team of attorneys to maintain the dignity of their cultures and traditions.

-Nadjma Sako