Fashion world, listen up: Native American headdresses are not a seasonal accessory.
This point was made loud and clear by Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck, who sent models down the runway wearing feathered headgear during his Fall 2014 show at Menswear Fashion Week on Wednesday. But unlike his ill-advised contemporaries, his headdresses were emblazoned with the sentence “Stop Racism.”
Very clever, Van Beirendonck.
Perhaps the bold move was a satirical nod to the recent Chanel show in Dallas, which featured models wearing feathered headdresses. Or maybe the designer was referencing Karlie Kloss’ now-infamous strut down the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show catwalk, complete with her own eyebrow-raising headpiece.
Then there was H&M’s recent decision to sell its own version to the masses in Canada. The retailer subsequently pulled the items after Kim Wheeler, a customer of Ojibwa-Mohawk descent, wrote H&M to say that these headdresses are “a symbol of respect and honour and should not be for sale as some sort of cute accessory.”
Clearly, Van Beirendonck had plenty to work with when it came to the fashion world’s appropriation of Native American culture. Think people will finally get the message?
By Rebecca Adams