A new collection by luxury fashion label Carolina Herrera inspired by different Latin American holidays has sparked a complaint from the Mexican government, which accuses that brand's creative director of plagiarism and cultural appropriation. The accusations refer to the Carolina Herrera Resort 2020 collection, which the label says is inspired by a "sunrise in Tulum, the light of Lima, strolls in Mexico City and the colours of Cartagena".
In a letter sent to the American-Venezuelan fashion house on Wednesday and its creative director, Wes Gordon, Mexican Culture Secretary Alejandra Frausto demanded "an explanation for the use of designs and embroidery of native peoples". In the missive, Frausto upheld "the cultural rights of indigenous peoples" while also asking the company and Gordon to "explain on what basis they decided to use cultural elements whose origin is fully documented".
The Mexican government's objections to the new Carolina Herrera designs, which it says appropriate the world vision of Mexican indigenous peoples, come as it is working on a bill to protect the nation's art and creativity from being plagiarized.
One of the designs in question is a long white dress with colourful embroideries of animals and flowers.
Frausto also mentioned some above-the-knee dresses with colourful embroidered flowers like those made in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of the southern state of Oaxaca.
Frausto says in the letter that that embroidery design comes from Tenango de Doria in the central state of Hidalgo and expresses that community's history, adding that "each element has personal, familial and community significance".
The Mexican government also is complaining about some Wes Gordon-designed dresses with the typical serape (blanket-like shawl) of Saltillo (capital of the northern state of Coahuila) that indigenous people use to make a variety of warm clothing items. In the letter, Frausto said a "principle of ethnic consideration" was at stake.
Mexico also has levelled similar accusations in the past against fashion brands such as Zara, Mango, Isabel Marant, Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors.
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