The first ever South Asian Heritage Month took place recently, and as part of the online programme of events, talks, and workshops I partnered with the founders of ethical fashion brand Electric Bazaar to host a discussion around “cultural appropriation vs cultural appreciation”. We were also joined by Sabriya Saeed, former Vice President of the debating and speaking society at Oxford University (The Oxford Union) and someone who has written and spoken about a wide range of topics around South Asia.
The discussion looked at the definition of cultural appropriation, how it differs from cultural appreciation and asked the question, can something be both?
The discussion then turned to the ethics of running a fashion brand and looked at brands can make conscious choices to ensure they’re being appreciative rather than appropriating.
We also shared examples of how South Asian fashion has been appropriated and appreciated including big fashion brands Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Paul Smith, Christian Louboutin to high street stores, celebrities and reality TV stars.
You can now watch a recording of the discussion here: