Fashion Just Won't Give Up on the Native American Headdress Thing

Illustration for article titled Fashion Just Won't Give Up on the Native American Headdress Thing

Another clothing retailer is trying to make a run at sneaking cultural appropriation in under the radar as hipster boho chic attire.


Clothier Ascot and Hart is selling this t-shirt featuring a drawing of a Native American headdress online. Captioned "we could wear this everyday" (noooooooo), an image of this shirt was added to the Instagram account of Ascot and Hart earlier this week. They're one of those Urban Outfitter-esque hipster clothing retailers where everything is either really really loose and baggy or insufferably tiny. Everything looks like a picture taken by one of those teenagers you're accidentally following on Tumblr. Which is all fine and dandy, except shit like this is just not OK:

Let's not forget the added insult of turning the feathers of the headdress into the logo for the company. The Fail is strong with this one.

Via Native Appropriations, here's just one of the many reasons why appropriation such as this is just not cool:

  • Headdresses, feathers, and warbonnets have deep spiritual significance.
    The wearing of feathers and warbonnets in Native communities is not a fashion choice. Eagle feathers are presented as symbols of honor and respect and have to be earned. Some communities give them to children when they become adults through special ceremonies, others present the feathers as a way of commemorating an act or event of deep significance. Warbonnets especially are reserved for respected figures of power. The other issue is that warbonnets are reserved for men in Native communities, and nearly all of these pictures show women sporting the headdresses. I can't read it as an act of feminism or subverting the patriarchal society, it's an act of utter disrespect for the origins of the practice. (see my post on sweatlodges for more on the misinterpretation of the role of women). This is just as bad as running around in a pope hat and a bikini, or a Sikh turban cause it's "cute".

This is one of those things I absolutely do not and never will understand. This isn't some old fuddy duddy women's wear brand that caters to elderly retirees in Boca Raton. This is a (supposedly) young and hip brand you'd think would be a little more in touch with current attitudes about the underlying issues here. Is there no one in a company like this who sees this shit and freaks out? "Please Bob, not a Native American headdress! Can't we just put David Bowie's picture on a few more t-shirts or something?" Is everyone there just living in happy bubble cloud made up of baggy tank tops and calf boots? I give up.

Image via Instagram.



When I realized that the feathers were actually letters, I read it as: "ASSHAT" and I'm going to stick with that.