Culture

Johnny Depp Fights Back Against Claims Of Cultural Appropriation, Says There Was No Harmful ‘Intent’ In Dior Ad

French fashion house Dior and Johnny Depp have been in the headlines for a campaign that many are calling blatant cultural appropriation. The campaign featured a trailer for a short film that showed Johnny Depp playing a guitar in the desert while a traditional Native American dancer of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe performed a war dance.

Many say the campaign missed the mark and called it yet another example of major corporations exploiting Indigenous cultures for profit.

But Johnny Depp is speaking out against the uproar and trying to put the public in its place and let’s just say it’s not going over too well

Johnny Depp isn’t having any of the drama and is sticking up for his ad campaign with the French fashion house.

Johnny Depp has come out fighting amid claims he helped facilitate the ‘cultural appropriation’ of Native American imagery for a Dior advert, by insisting the promotion was ‘made with respect’.

Depp was dragged into the controversy by co-star Tanya Beatty who issued a public call on Instagram for him to make a charitable donation as recompense for having ‘blatantly disrespected indigenous culture’, an idea Depp now seems unlikely to take up.

In a robust defence of the ‘Just Ad Indian’ campaign for Dior Sauvage, Depp said: “A teaser is obviously a very concentrated version of images and there were objections to the teaser of the small film. The film has never been seen. There was never — and how could there be or how would there be — any dishonourable [intent].

“‘It’s a pity that people jumped the gun and made these objections. However, their objections are their objections. It was a film made out of great respect and with great respect and love for the Native American peoples to bring light to them.”

All of this started when Dior released an ad that many people called our for blatant cultural appropriation.

Depp had faced criticism over the campaign for the French fashion house after a clip debuted. The clip, part of a short film directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, showed Depp wandering through desert as Native Americans perform a war dance in traditional dress. The company received complaints that it was offensive and it was subsequently taken down.

Dior also moved to defend itself from claims of cultural appropriation.

According to Dior, Native American consultants from an indigenous advocacy organization worked with the brand on the project, “in order to respect Indigenous cultures, values, and heritage.” 

Depp said that there has been no final decision to pull the ad and the creative teams plan to meet and work with those who were offended by the clip to come to a resolution. He noted the creative team had worked with the Comanche Nation and other indigenous advocacy organizations during the creation of the film.

Depp was basically saying he was disappointed that people ‘jumped the gun’ and rushed to judgement.

“It’s a pity that people jumped the gun and made these objections,” Depp said of the project last week, adding, “However, their objections are their objections.” 

The actor also said that the idea for the film was “pure.” 

“I can assure you that no one has any reason to go out to try to exploit,” he told the Hollywood Reporter.

People on social media weren’t having any of the blatant disregard for the opinions from people of color.

This is 100% truth. All too often when white people do something that offends they claim that their ‘intent’ wasn’t to harm anyone. That may be very well the truth but but their actions still caused harm and they need to own up to it.

One Twitter user pointed out how frustrating it is that white folks often write off the harm they caused saying it wasn’t their ‘intent.’

Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.

Others wanted to remind Depp that he and others don’t get to decide when Indigenous people get to be offended by something.

Far too often, white people try and tell minorities when, where, and why they’re allowed to be offended. This needs to stop.

While at least one Twitter user pointed out the gross use of the word ‘Sauvage’ in a campaign meant to honor Native Americans.

The campaign that was meant to honor Native American culture was for a cologne by Dior called ‘Sauvage’ – French for savage. Now, for hundreds of years the word savage has been used as a slur to separate people of Indigenous descent from white Westerners – to depict them as animalistic and less than human.

Given the words hurtful history, it was surprising that Dior would use this particular cologne as a tool to supposedly shine light on Native American culture in a positive light.

There’s An Indigenous Fashion Week In Canada And OMG It Looks Incredible

Fierce

There’s An Indigenous Fashion Week In Canada And OMG It Looks Incredible

VancouverIndigenousFashionWeek / Instagram

A fashion week is a fashion industry event — pretty self-explanatory, we know. The event, as the name says it, lasts approximately one week. And it’s a platform where fashion designers, brands or “houses” display their latest collections in runway shows to buyers and the media.

These events influence trends for the current and upcoming seasons and they’re pretty notorious for being somewhat elitist, lacking in representation and inclusivity. Indigenous Fashion Week decided to take matters into their own hands and they’ve been hosting an event that presents the most progressive fashion, textiles and crafts by Indigenous artists.

At the intersection of art, fashion and culture, Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto, features works by Native Canadian women.

IFW presents Indigenous-made fashion, textiles and craft, and it’s committed to exploring the connections between mainstream fashion, Indigenous art and traditional practice through presentations for broad audiences and industries.

IFW is bold, inclusive and accessible.

This fashion week challenges perceptions of, and celebrates Indigenous people and their culture with integrity, innovation and excellence. Founder and producer Joleen Mitton says the event is about far more than just celebrating Indigenous clothing designers.

Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week kicked off with a red dress gala in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The red dress has become a symbol of resilience for many, and Mitton says that during IFW it will be featured to raise awareness about ongoing violence against Indigenous women. “That’s why the red dress event still exists,” she says. “I wish it didn’t have to, but it’s something that we keep on needing to talk about. If we can somehow tackle any issue with fashion, that’s what we’re going to do.”

The former model says she hopes the event can help create deeper connections between Canada’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

Mitton has spent years mentoring Indigenous girls who grew up in foster care in Canada and never knew much about their culture. She’s recruited some of them to be the face of the fashion show, and helped them reclaim their First Nations heritage through fashion.

The event encourages Indigenous people to openly celebrate their culture which has a long history of being subjugated in Canada.

For decades, the Canadian government banned First Nations potlatch — a traditional ceremony that included gift-giving, feasting and dancing. Today, Indigenous Fashion Week in Vancouver brings traditional regalia —from traditional patterns of blankets to capes displaying family animal crests— to the runway for all to see.

Mitton wants this Fashion Week to inspire young people and help them be proud of their culture and traditions.

“Indigenous fashion isn’t just about looking good, it’s about reclaiming parts of who we are,” said Mandy Nahanee, a First Nations storyteller and educator. “We can show our young people this is how beautiful, and amazing, and talented we are, that you should be walking down runways and standing tall with your chin up, being proud of who you are. We need everyone in the world to know that we’re still here.”

People Are Celebrating Mexico’s Planned Bill To Fine Companies That Copy Indigenous Designs

Culture

People Are Celebrating Mexico’s Planned Bill To Fine Companies That Copy Indigenous Designs

MasdeMx.com

Much has been said and written about the material pillaging that indigenous communities in what is now the Americas have been subject to since Christopher Columbus “discovered” the continent. Mineral resources, agricultural knowledge and dignity: they were all taken in the name of “civilization”. These processes of abuse towards the original owners of a land that was never willingly ceded have continued well into today. 

Some goods are immaterial, which means that more than objects or places, they are cultural goods such as knowledge, practices and methods of doing things.

Credit: secadero_uno / Instagram

 Such an immaterial good are the designs that indigenous communities imprint on clothes, pottery and art. However, because there is no single author for these, creations are nor protected under intellectual property, which is how companies and designers take advantage and basically steal designs. These are not homages, but direct acts of plagiarism! 

But there have been people that have been profiting from traditional designs

Credit: Mexico News Daily

Zara, the massive Spanish retailer, has been accused of stealing designs both from indigenous communities and from independent designers. Indigenous groups from the Mexican state of Chiapas, for example, have said that the copycat designs affect their livelihood because potential customers, including tourists, can just go to the shops and get them.

As reported by Mexico Daily News, there is a discrepancy in the hours of labor that indigenous artisans invest in each garment and what they get paid, compared to the profit made by brands like Zara. as artisans “dedicate more than 50 hours to making each embroidered garment, selling them for 200 pesos (US $10). In contrast, Zara manufactures the same garment and sells it at 599 pesos ($32.)”

And let’s not forget that Zara and other international companies have been found to use abusive and exploitative production methods in other countries such as Bangladesh. Consumers are also to blame, as a representative for the advocacy group Impacto told Mexico Daily News: “There’s also a contradiction, because they pay high prices at a store but then don’t want to spend in an indigenous community.”

So if you visit Mexico or another developing country and you want to take the price down, regatear as they say in Spanish, when buying from a local artisan, well, then shame on you! 

And if we think a bit further, international brands like Zara sometimes profit from a global network of abuse and injustice.

Let’s not forget that six years ago a fatal collapse in Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza building, where brands such as H&M and Zara outsourced clothes manufacturing, caused deaths and revealed the industry malpractices that do not guarantee workers’ safety. Since then international brands have looked into their production processes, but problems remain. Needless to say, what Global South workers get is a minuscule amount compared to what US or Spanish workers would demand, so the profit on each piece is huge. All in the name of money, right? So the chain of mistreatment sometimes start with stealing designs and continues with paying super low wages to people that cannot afford not to be employed, even if it is under very precarious conditions. 

So the motion that is being considered in the Mexican Senate makes a ton of sense.

Credit: masdemx.com

The Mexican Senate is considering imposing a hefty fine to those who copy indigenous designs, which are de facto intellectual and cultural property that can make money, so there is a monetary value attached to them.

As reported by Mexico Daily News, “The proposal being discussed by the Senate culture commission would penalize the theft of indigenous cultural elements with fines up to 4.2 million pesos (US $218,000.)”

The proposal includes a legal framework through which indigenous communities can denounce cases in which they feel like their creative and cultural property has been stolen. The Senate’s cultural commission has focused on indigenous affairs since MORENA, the incumbent president’s party, got into power earlier this year. For all its controversial decisions, the current government has in fact done more to protect indigenous communities than previous administrations.

In some cases the copycat models are blatantly direct: such is the case of a chinanteco design copied by the brand Intropia and sold in over 170 euros. Other brands that have appropriated designs from indigenous communities from Chiapas, Oaxaca and other states such as Hidalgo are  Carolina Herrera, Dior, Isabel Marant, Nestlé, Madewell, Mango and Desigual. The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has found at least 39 cases of this type of theft. If the proposal goes through, a database of designs of indigenous and Afro-Mexican designs will be created.