It’s Time for the Fashion Industry to Stop Using ‘Ethnic’ and ‘Tribal’

It’s Time for the Fashion Industry to Stop Using ‘Ethnic’ and ‘Tribal’

Diversity advocates in the fashion industry are calling for the use of words like “tribal” and “ethnic” to stop, claiming the lazy use of them by designers perpetuates stereotypes. …

“Tribal” is often used to describe prints inspired by Central and West African cultures, or to refer to patterns and fabrics that were inspired or co-opted from various African tribes throughout the continent, and broadly generalizes multiple African cultures like they are all monolithic.

Recently, the fashion industry was called out for its decades-long use of the word “urban” to describe anything related to Black American culture. Now, diversity advocates in the fashion industry are calling for the use of words like “tribal” and “ethnic” to stop. …

“Throughout most of the twentieth century, words such as ‘primitive,’ ‘tribal,’ and ‘ethnic’ were used with impunity with absolutely no thought,” Hallay Heath said.

It was only beginning in the past decade that diversity advocates in the fashion industry began to hammer down on the use of these terms and call out brands for using them. “Within the last ten years, the industry began to find more appropriate and respectful means of describing clothing and fashion inspired by other cultures,” Hallay Heath said. …

By Kristopher Fraser, The Daily Beast

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