This month Urban Outfitters got in trouble for branding dozens of items as "Navajo," including the "Navajo Hipster Panty" and "Navajo Print Fabric Wrapped Flask," when the Navajo Nation is a real (and trademarked!) nation that had nothing to do with the production of these cheap hipster goods. They've subsequently renamed the products, and now it seems we might have been a little too hard on them. At least when they reduced a culture to a seasonal trend they recognized that there are different groups of Native Americans. Thankfully Forever 21 has stepped up to remind us that we should keep the bar for cultural sensitivity in retail pretty low.
Considering that the folks at Foverever 21 already brought us the "Allergic to Algebra" shirt, we really shouldn't be surprised that they'd be hawking trendy pieces that are "southwestern," "printed," or whatever we're calling the pieces formerly mislabled "Navajo," in the most offensive way possible. Yet, it's still hard to believe that the company is selling jewelry depicting a generic Native American girl and an "Oriental Girl" necklace.
The first was spotted in a store by Fashionista and isn't listed on Forever 21's website. The second goes a step further than simply reproducing a cartoony stereotype — it's actually called the "Oriental Girl Necklace" on Forever 21's website.
What's particularly strange about Forever 21 using the outdated term "oriental" to refer to a necklace that seems to depict a geisha, is that as Styleite notes, the family that owns the company is Korean American. If you'd like to show your love of Asian cultures by wearing an offensive little pendant representing a tradition with no cultural link to most of the nations on the continent, we suggest you snap up this $1.50 necklace fast. We have a feeling it's going to disappear from the website pretty soon.
Forever 21 Is Selling Native American Girl And ‘Oriental Girl' Necklaces [Fashionista]
Oriental Girl Necklace [Forever 21]
Korean-Owned Forever 21 Now Sells ‘Oriental Girl' Necklaces [Styleite]