Mexican Culture Secretary Alejandra Frausto Guerrero sent a letter to Zara, Anthropologie and Patowl accusing the labels of using cultural elements of indigenous peoples, according to an AFP report on Saturday.
In letters to each of the brands sent earlier this month, Frausto said Zara’s midi dress featured a belt with Oaxacan features, while a pair of Anthropologie embroidered shorts had details related to it. Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec and Patowl printed t-shirts with elements linked to San Antonino Castillo Celasco, according to the report.
Frausto is known for her efforts to raise awareness of cultural appropriation in the fashion industry and curb the “indiscriminate” use of certain cultural elements without credit or collaboration, and has mingled with labels such as Carolina Herrera and Isabel Marant.
In an interview with WWD last year, Frausto said a number of high-end labels have used iconography of cities and communities in Mexico and other countries without paying for them. “As the government of Mexico, we have promoted an initiative for the protection of the collective rights of our communities, and the use of these cultural elements by fashion companies obliges us to draw attention to promote inclusion and make the invisible visible, put them in the center, ”she told WWD in November.
In a letter to Marant last year, Frausto challenged Cape Gabin from the Isabel Marant Étoile fall 2020 collection for drawing over designs from indigenous Mexican communities like the Michoacán Purépecha.
Submitting the question to Twitter at the time, Frausto said in a tweet sharing Marant’s response: “We invite international designers to be allies in defending the cultural heritage of indigenous peoples, recognizing their value and diversity.
Last July, Zara pulled a controversial new wallet from the Mexican market, giving in to pressure from angry consumers who accused her of launching a purse that looked exactly like the ones Mexicans used to shop for groceries – but at a much higher price.
The Mexican government recently drafted a law to protect the country’s cultural identity, as expressed by indigenous groups and communities “to avoid taking advantage of their views in what is called” cultural appropriation. ” . “
The legislation provides for severe fines and even prison terms for brand executives found guilty of participating in the activity.
Zara owner Inditex did not immediately respond to a request for comment.