A recent news article posted on http://www.independent.co.uk featured the topic of Native American culture being appropriated on the runway. A Lebanese designer named Zuhir Murah showcased his new spring/summer 2018 couture fashion line in hopes to “celebrate” Native American designs and artwork.

The title of the collection is called “Indian Summer”. There was seemingly a lot of effort put towards drawing inspiration from Native American culture in the display of the show. Though I’m not sure the designer was aware of what and how the people of this culture desire to express themselves in the modern age.

Even with all that misdirected effort, the designer didn’t appear to hire any Native American models to wear the clothes that were supposedly in tribute to their heritage. Some argued his use of feathers in the models’ hair was racist and stereotypical. I think it is very possible this designer created this fashion line with very pure intentions. He says he only wanted to show respect towards their culture.

I believe this is a chance to start a dialogue and educate ourselves on the way Native Americans wish and deserve to control their own narrative and image. As history shows, Native Americans have been persecuted for their cultural identities for centuries and forced to assimilate into American lifestyle. Of course, as the decades change, one’s cultural image changes with it. And so, is it not fair to allow Native Americans to take hold of how their identities and stories are shared with the rest of the world?

Categories: Native American, Native American Culture

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