Bloggers Adrienne Keene and Dr. Jessica Metcalfe on Native Headdresses, Patterns, and "Aztec" Labels in Popular Fashion
When the Navajo Nation sued apparel retailer Urban Outfitters for using its name on a line of products with geometric prints, including flasks and panties, the community sent a message about how the fashion world is appropriating native cultures into trendy gear -- but not all companies seem to get the point.
See also: Urban Outfitters Pulls Navajo Name from Collection; Heard Museum Weighs In on Native-Inspired Fashion That Should Be Produced
See also: Beyond Buckskin: Jessica R. Metcalfe Expands Her Native Fashion Blog into an Online Shop
Sanrio just launched a new look for its popular Hello Kitty using "Aztec" to describe a turquoise and diamond-themed accessories that looks scarily similar to the UO disaster from last year.
Other companies treading the line include:
- an 'Aztec' collection from Whitney Eve (yes, one of the girls from The Hills)
- 'tribal' collections from Forever21 and Target
- Ecko's 'Weekend Warrior' line
- Native inspired fashion at No Wire Hangers
- numerous current products at Urban Outfitters including its 'printed' line and the now unavailable Staring at Stars Skull Headdress Oversized Tee
- and Black Label Boutique's Navajo line
Native bloggers including Adrienne Keene (Native Appropriations) and Dr. Jessica Metcalfe (Beyond Buckskin) use social media to point out some companies still marketing controversial lines and products -- and to explain why it's a problem.
"This huge company is using this catchphrase 'Aztec,' right now, to make sales, to profit off of indigenous communities who have suffered so much in the past 500 years and none of it's going back to the community and it's actually misrepresenting the community," says Metcalfe, who is Turtle Mountain Chippewa from North Dakota and earned her Ph.D. in American Indian Studies through University of Arizona. "When you're targeting a younger audience and you knowingly tack a name onto an item that is not correct, you are continuing perpetuating miseducation."