à l'allure garçonnière

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Cultural Appropriation: A conversation by Sanaa Hamid

This body of work is an exploration of the extent of cultural appropriation and encourages a discussion about it. I give the appropriator and the appropriated the opportunity to defend themselves and create a dialogue between them, while maintaining a neutral stance myself. I am not attacking those who appropriate, merely educating and creating awareness. Neutrality is key in this series, as i remove myself from my political and social status and opinions, stripping the problem to the most basic issue; taking an item that means a great deal to somebody and corrupting it.

“While fashion showcases a variety of sexual attitudes and lifestyles (the industry is pretty open in terms of queer identities, BDSM play, exhibitionisms, etc.), such polymorphous perversity is only sanctioned for those with a very specific body type. My teenage favorite, Carine Roitfeld’s Paris Vogue, may have shown girls who looked like boys and boys who looked like girls doing all sorts of things with each other, but the boys and girls within her pages all looked more alike, as boys or girls, than I or my best friends and lovers do to any of them—that is, they were all very thin, very tall, impeccably groomed and mostly white, while we are all so diverse.”

Forever 69: Fu*k the Commodification of Sex by Fiona Duncan

…I’m hopping off of the carousel. Actually, it started to feel more like a treadmill. Fashion blogging has changed immensely since I first set out in 2006. Back then, I swore up and down that I would never show my face, let alone divulge my full name, on these here interwebs. Back in those days, all I did was write. Nowadays, I think most people hear ‘fashion blogger’ and think that you are a person who takes photos of yourself every day. I never set out to be that person. Yet somehow I became that person. And it’s really not my thing anymore.

Everything gelled at once. The not shopping, the deaths of hundreds because everyone wants to eat their marbles faster and faster, the piles of worn-once-or-twice fast fashion garments crammed into the racks of thrift stores that I see when I go on excursions for my vintage store. I’m one person, and I can’t really affect that much change in the world. I don’t want to buy something new and just hope it came from a good place. I figure if being more of a vintage and home-sewn-wearing gal is going to help me not contribute to more waste and death, then I’m cool with that.

At What Cost? by Catie Nienaber (May 7th, 2013)

The Stream episode is up online now. If you just want to see yours truly awkwardly ramble to a webcam, fast-forward to @11:38. The comments on YouTube are unbearable as usual, but the discussions on the Stream website are quite respectful and overall quite strong. Really great to hear such a variety of voices. Particularly enamored with Sonny Singh around 17:30 - but no surprise there, I fell in love with his article last summer re: Jean Paul Gauthier and turbans on the runway. (via When traditions become trends | The Stream - Al Jazeera English)

"Hey, Urban Outfitters: My culture is not for sale!" An open letter from an angry habesha woman


by Lolla Mohammed Nur, @lomonur

(Note #1: I use the term “habesha” as shorthand in this article to describe the cultures and people of Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is a contested term within the diaspora, and does not necessarily apply to all ethnic groups in those two countries. Here, I use it as a general term to refer to Ethiopians and Eritreans for the sake of brevity). 

(Note #2: The dress was NOT been removed by Urban Outfitters from the website. I initially had assumed they removed it, but I later found out that the dress was actually mysteriously sold within days of the campaign launch. Urban Outfitters declined to tell me who bought it, vaguely citing “customer privacy laws.” Personally, I think it’s all fishy.)


For about a week now, Ethiopian and Eritrean diasporans have taken to social media to express their disbelief, shock and anger with Urban Outfitters, a company that has an established reputation for controversy and for cultural insensitivity.

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