Entertainment

Yalitza Aparicio Made Her Debut At NYFW And She Shined Like The Star That She Is Next To The Fashion World’s Elite

Indigenous Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio marked her New York Fashion Week debut at a Michael Kors show this week. The 25-year-old was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress last year when she made another debut. It was Aparicio’s first time acting when she was cast in Alfonso Cuaron’s 2018 drama Roma. Aparicio has staked her claim as one of Hollywood’s most talented leading ladies. 

She is the first Latinx actress to be nominated for the Best Actress Oscar in 14 years, making her the second Mexican woman to do so, and the first Indigenous American woman to get a nom. Aparicio is Mixtec and Trique. Raised by a single mother who worked as a maid, Aparicio has no formal acting training. She has a degree in early childhood education and was pursuing another in pre-school education when she was cast in Roma. 

Aparicio’s ascent comes at a time when Latinx and indigenous representation are sorely lacking and much needed in media. 

Yalitza Aparicio attends Michael Kors Show at NYFW.

Credit: MichaelKhors / Instagram

Yalitza Aparicio made her New York Fashion Week debut at Michael Kors’ Brooklyn Navy Yard show. Other celebrities in attendance included Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Sutton Foster, Lucy Hale, Emily Ratajkowski, Mafalda, Olympia of Greece, and Ella Hunt to name a few.

“I will see how it actually is because all I know is what you see online,” Aparicio told Women’s Wear Daily of seeing the clothes up close for the first time. 

The 25-year-old Roma star is still adjusting to life after awards season. Her breakout performance quickly ushered her into the Hollywood stratosphere, and while Aparicio is in talks for some new roles, she is focused on adjusting and humanitarian work. 

“I was trying to assimilate all that had happened,” she said. “[People] wanted to meet me and ask questions about the film and how it had been filmed all over the world; it was all sort of a big dream.” 

Aparicio sits front row.

Credit: Oaxaca3373 / Instagram

In fashion, it’s considered an honor to be sitting in the front row of a runway show. It’s why snaps of Vogue’s elusive editor Anna Wintour sitting poised with her signature sunglasses have become iconic. Aparicio was not denied a seat at the table, as she was sitting in between the notable leading ladies Sutton Foster, Kate Hudson, and Nicole Kidman. 

Aparicio looked statuesque in a silver, metallic crushed silk lamé wrap dress from the 2019 Michael Kors Collection. 

“I really didn’t think it would happen this soon, but fortunately, through this experience, I’ve been able to really take on the next step,” she told E.T. of her unexpected and exponential rise to success.

“I really learned a lot over this past year, but the most important thing is that at its core, my essence, I’m still the same person,” she continued. “It’s just a matter of adapting everything I’ve learned that really works for me.” 

Native American appropriation still runs rampant in fashion.

Just last week French fashion brand Dior pulled an advertisement following accusations of cultural appropriation. The ad was for the fragrance “Sauvage,” whose spokesperson is Johnny Depp, and featured indigenous people of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota performing the Fancy War Dance. Indigenous people were offended. 

Who are the real sauvages? 

“Using Indigenous people and our culture for your new perfume aesthetic and feeling the need to name it “Sauvage” is a completely bad take. Do better @Dior,” an indigenous person wrote. 

Sauvage is the French word for “savage” an offense term used to describe indigenous people by white colonizers, and one that is still used today to dehumanize indigenous people. This is well-known information, even the Disney animated film Pocahontas, which is a lazy retelling of history at best, features a song called “Savages” sung by the colonizers. 

Indigenous people have long faced discrimination and erasure.

“To describe a Indigenous Person as Sauvage…. Is not cool.. Period. I am not a Savage..we are described in the Declaration of Independence as “Savages”…. So no honor no respect. Coming from a 100 percent indigenous two-spirit… Not cool Johnny,” said one Twitter user. 

Others have pointed out that indigenous people are described as “savages” in the Declaration of Independence as a means to deny their rights. Many indigenous Canadians were especially upset. Canada has a large population of French-Canadians as well as a relatively larger indigenous population, thus the word sauvage, in its most derogatory form, is a constant presence in the lives of indigenous Canadians.  

Aparicio’s presence in NYFW, and in Hollywood, is all the more important as indigenous and Latinx voices need to be heard and represented. 

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.