Zara, Anthropologie and Patowl are under accusations of Mexican Cultural Appropriation


Palak Arora 03/06/21 #copyright #patent #trademarks #infringement #intellectualproperty #IPR #IPRinfo #IPlaw #IPRrights #Trademarkclickcom #IP #lawfirms #lawyers #entrepreneur #IPRBlog #IPBlog #Zara #Mexico #Anthropologie #Patowl #CarolinaHerrera #culturalappropriation

Mexico has made some serious accusations on some international fashion brands Zara, Anthropologie, and Patowl of cultural appropriation. It stated that these brands chose to use patterns from indigenous Mexican groups in their designs without benefitting the communities in any manner. Mexico's Ministry of Culture said in a statement, “We have sent letters signed by Mexico's Culture Minister Alejandra Frausto to all three global companies, asking each for a public explanation on what basis it could privatize collective property."

The Ministry of Culture further said, “Zara, owned by Inditex (ITX.MC), the world's largest clothing retailer, used a pattern distinctive to the indigenous Mixteca community of San Juan Colorado in the southern state of Oaxaca.” In response to the above statement of Mexico, Inditex clarified that the design in question was in no manner intentionally borrowed from or have any influence on the artistry of the Mixtec people of  Mexico.

Anthropologie is owned by URBN (URBN.O). It was alleged that Anthropologie deliberately used a design that was developed by the indigenous Mixe community of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec. While Patowl on the other side alleged copying a pattern from the indigenous Zapoteco community residing in San Antonino Castillo Velasco. Both the communities come under the state of Oaxaca as per the Ministry of Culture. However, URBN and Patowl denied responding immediately to such statements and accusations by Mexico’s Ministry of Culture.

It is not the first time that the Mexican Government has done something like this, it also accused fashion house, Carolina Herrera, in the year 2019 of cultural appropriation of indigenous patterns and textiles from Mexico in its entire collection. Mexican Government is very active in protecting its communities’ designs. In this case, Herrera’s creative director Wes Gordon reportedly said, “The collection pays tribute to the richness of Mexican culture.”

And over the years, many cases have come into the limelight where the extent to which fashion designers make huge profits just by incorporating cultural designs without even acknowledging their origins or fairly compensating communities has been a point of contention.

It is still a matter of question that why people want to make profits from other’s creativeness and why can not they simply let people know that it does not belong to them but to someone else? Encouraging such communities and bringing them in front of the consumers would also help them to develop improving their living standards.

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