Get ready to cringe: Paul Frank hosted a Native American culture-themed "Dream Catchin" party for last week's Fashion's Night Out that makes Urban Outfitters' Navajo Hipster panty fiasco look like a United Nations peace treaty.
The designer's party planners most likely intended to celebrate native culture by dressing Frank's famous monkey mascot in a feather headdress and offering specialty cocktails with names like "Rain Dance Refresher," "Dream Catcher," and "Neon Teepee" to guests like Christina Milian, who posed in "war paint" with tomahawks and bows and arrows throughout the night. But, as the tipster who notified us of the event pointed out, that's "very much like celebrating African-American culture with a blackface party."
Here's how the Hollywood Reporter described the event: "Paul Frank celebrated Fashion's Night Out with a neon-Native American powwow theme. Glow-in-the-dark war-painted employees in feather headbands and bow and arrows invited guests to be photographed on a mini-runway holding prop tomahawks."
According to Indian Country Today, blogger Jessica Metcalfe helped convince Paul Frank to take over 1,000 party photos off Facebook after posting about the event on Beyond Buckskin and encouraging readers to mobilize. Metcalfe took particular offense to the fact that there were loads of young kids there who were encouraged to dress up and "play Indian."
"Evidently, this is our legacy," she wrote. "...these weren't just plain ol' white kids playing Indian. Now every race and every color and every age group is doing it. It is truly a sad day to see other People of Color oppressing Native American people and making a mockery of their cultures."
Paul Frank eventually apologized via Facebook after removing the photos:
"Paul Frank celebrates diversity and is inspired by many rich cultures from around the world. The theme of our Fashion's Night Out event was in no way meant to disrespect the Native American culture, however due to some comments we have received we are removing all photos from the event and would like to formally and sincerely apologize. Thank you everyone for your feedback and support."
But it turns out it wasn't just a one-night-only theme; Metcalfe found photos of a related t-shirt collection. Now you don't have to be VIP to get in on the fun!
Click through the photos to see event details, Paul Frank's "Dream Catchin" T-shirt line, and Disney and Nickelodeon celebrities gleefully dressing in redface.
(Images via Native Appropriations.)
Appropriation fun for everyone.
From the T-shirt line.
More from the T-shirt line.
Playing dress-up with Ashley Argota of the Nickelodeon series "True Jackson, VP."