Things That Matter

21 Times the Fashion Industry Appropriated Latino Culture

In simple terms, cultural appropriation is when someone improperly and/or thoughtlessly seizes another person’s viewpoints, manners, styles, or practices or anything that associated with that person’s culture.  Typically, people appropriate culture from minorities.

Rock and roll’s early history is a good example of cultural appropriation.   African Americans actually developed the music, but record companies and radio stations only paid attention to Caucasian artist’s recordings.  Consequently, the public believed they originated and owned the music.

For years, the fashion industry has appropriated various cultures.  For example, Marc Jacobs styled his Caucasian models in dreadlocks and Victoria Secret’s donned its models in Native American headdresses.  It does the same to the Latino culture. Unfortunately, much like the rock and roll example, most of the public doesn’t realize when it’s happening.

Here are twenty-one times various individuals or entities from the fashion industry appropriated from the Latino culture.

Gwen Stefani

Ms. Stefani is a clothes designer and fashion icon.  Oftentimes, she wears the “chola” look, which the Urban Dictionary defines as consisting of thin, “angry looking” eyebrows; dark lip liner; flannel shirts; tattoos; facial piercings; lots of gold jewelry; Nikes or Converse sneakers; baggy pants, and, hair gelled down, straight back or in a high pony tail.  Ms. Stefani attended high school in Anaheim, California with many Latinos and says that he classmates’ makeup and clothing choices “mesmerized” her.

The Beautiful Ones:We♥It@The Beautiful Ones

Kendall and Kylie Jenner

Kendall and Kylie Jenner are also clothes designers and fashion icons.  In 2017, they posed in chola outfits and makeup.  They initially told critics to “get over it, ” but later apologized.  (Note: this wasn’t the first time people accused the Jenner’s of cultural appropriation)

KendallandKylie. Digital August 28, 2017


In Givenchy’s  fall 2015 show, creative director Riccardo Tisci gelled the fine hairs on the models hairlines (a style both Latino and African American woman wear and call “baby hairs.”), put jewels     on their faces, and dressed them in Victorian clothes.  He then called them his “Chola Victorian” girls.  Furthermore, he     did not acknowledge the Latino community and did not use models of color.  

Givenchy.Digital Image.Marie Claire.March 10, 2015

Lucy Hale

In January 2017, the Pretty Liars actress posted on social media a head shot in which she wears “baby hairs.” She even commented that the style came to good use at a photo shoot. Followers noted that her hair didn’t properly reflect the style and she then deleted the post. Fashion Magazine also pointed out that when African American and Latino women sport the style, it’s labeled “hood” and “ghetto,” but when Caucasian women wear it, it’s trendy.

Twitter/Lucy Digital Image.Hale.Fashion Magazine.January 26, 2017


the popular singer appeared on the cover of the September 2018 issue of British Vogue sporting extremely thin eyebrows.  Such insulted Krysty Chavez, social media editor at Marie Claire, who wondered why Rihanna was     wearing what’s normally known as chola brows.  She actually wrote “WTF” and recalled how mothers of Mexican and Mexican-American girls feared they would wear such eyebrows.

Rihanna Eyebrows.Digital Image.Hello!.August 1, 2018

Rihanna and Karreuche Tran

The singer appears on the list again, along with her actress/model friend.  On Halloween 2017, the ladies wore opened flannel shirts, bright red lipstick, and baggy pants.  They then posted photos of themselves on social media.  Rihanna even painted a bullet hole on her chest.  The  costumes only perpetuated negative, gang-like stereotypes.

Karr.Digital Image.Hispanic Culture Blog Spot.December 6, 2017

Nina Dobrev

Twitter followers chastised the Vampire Diaries star when she dressed up in “Day of the Dead” makeup and attire. The Mexican holiday celebrates loved ones who have passed. Critics didn’t appreciate how Ms. Dobrev overlooked the holiday’s sacredness.

Nina Dobrev Halloween Costuem: PopBuzz@TV & Film

Lana Del Rey

In the short film Tropico, Ms. Del Rey portrays a Latino-American gangster. Objectors noted how the entertainment industry routinely casts Caucasian actors in Latino roles and believes it makes them look Latino by donning them in stereotypical clothes.

Lana Del Rey Tropico Tattoos:Fandom@Lana Del Rey Wiki


The company sells numerous ethnic inspired merchandises. The tagline for its Aztec purse reads: “They invented chewing gum and chocolate, but surely the Aztecs’ greatest achievement was inspiring these fresh prints.” The Aztec people were remarkable engineers and designers. In addition to creating a stunning city that had canals, causeways, and aqueducts, they made gorgeous jewelry, developed a hieroglyphic script, put together an intricate calendar, and built temples and pyramids. To say that they only invented snacks and that their utmost success inspired a handbag, demeans and insults them.

ASOS.Digital Image. Jezebel.October 5, 2012


The designers for this fashion brand claimed that the “real” L.A. girl spurred their 2014 spring/summer line, which consisted of fringed leather skirts, bra tops, large belts, backward caps, and animal prints. The Guardian remarked that it expected the models to come onto the runway to Ricky Martin’s La Vida Loca.

Flared Ruffle Detailed Dress: Pinterest@EastLA

Mercado Global

This non-profit, donor funded company forms partnerships with Guatemalan artisan women and helps them market their woven textiles to well-known American retailers and also sells its own work.  Such allows the women to preserve their craft, support their families, and earn money, which then helps them stay out of poverty.

Mercado Global.Digital Image.Mercado

Carolina K

This company markets fashions created by artists working under fair trade agreements.  Argentinian designer, Carolina Kleinman (Carolina K), infuses Latino culture into her designs.  One of her pieces, the Cholita Skirt, has bright embroidered flowers and is shaped like a dance skirt.  Indigenous people inspire Ms. Kleinman, who strives to preserve their artistry.

Isabel Marant Etoile

The French designer marketed a blouse with embroidered features that the Muxe community in Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec claims it copied from their submissions.  The designer acknowledged that the Tlahuitoltepec community provided the designs and a French court ruled that it didn’t own the rights.  It then pulled the blouse from the market.


The footwear company designed and marketed a shoe called the “Guate Weave Authentic,” which it manufactured with South American style fabric.  The style also reflected the kind skateboarders wore (the Latino Community helped shape the skateboarding industry and its fashions).  Even those who sold the shoes felt the company was culturally appropriating Latino style.


Urban Outfitters

The prominent retailer once offered a Mochila Bag (Mochila means bag) that sold well. Women of the Colombian Wayuu tribe use dyed cotton to hand weave Mochila Bags. Yet, the company gives the women little credit and hardly any profit.

Women’s Blue Ecote Mochila Woven Bucket Bag:Lyst@Urban Outfitters

The Mochila Project

The project recognizes that the Mochila bags are vital to the Wayuu people’s lifestyle and economy.  Mothers also pass down the weaving skills to their daughters, so it additionally represents tradition.  

Nabusimake02.Digital Image.The Mochila

Jennifer Lawrence/Christian Dior

Escaramuza charra, Mexico’s rodeo-like sport, inspired Dior’s most recent designs. Critics, however, wondered why it used Ms. Lawrence, instead of a Latino woman, to model the collection.


Two sisters in Utah established this company after a trip to Mexico.  They loved the textiles and the people.  They were eager to establish a working relationship that benefitted all of them.  They women note on their website that they admire the Latino culture and people and want to raise funds to help support them.  Users of social media nonetheless criticized their use of Caucasian models and accused them of cultural appropriation, which the sisters feel is unfair and wrong.


TOMS: in 2015, this shoe company offered a line of sandals inspired by ancient indigenous Mexican tribes. Centuries ago, such tribes designed and handmade sandals known as huaraches. While the company previously marketed its alpargatas (a classic Argentinian jute shoe) with a “buy one, give one” offer that that provided an impoverished child with a pair of shoes each time a consumer purchased one for themselves.  Mexicans, nonetheless objected to the update of the traditional design and viewed it as cultural appropriation. TOMS ad didn’t help matters. It read: “Huraches are no longer Mexican.”

TOMS.Digital Image.Yucatan Times.June 17, 2015

Hoop Earrings

many Latino girls maintain that hoop earrings, especially oversized ones, represent defiance, grit, and character and do not like when Caucasian girls wear them. In 2017, three Pitzer College students painted a mural on which they wrote “White Girl, Take Off Your Hoops, Stop Calling Yourself Mami and Start Respecting Our Existence”. The girls wanted to bring attention to a double standard. Historically, when Latino women and other women of color wear hoop earrings and other Latino-associated fashions, others see them as ghetto and don’t take them seriously. Yet, when Caucasian women don the fashions, others call them fashion forward and consider them innovative.


The Lesson

If you study these examples, you’ll note a steady pattern. Most of the time (emphasis on “most of the time”), people unknowingly appropriate Latino Culture.  They have no desire to hurt anyone and, most of the time (once again, emphasis on “most of the time”), wish to support it.

Reconsider the rock and roll example.  Many critics accused Elvis Presley, the “King” of rock and roll, of culturally appropriating African American music.  Many African Americans, though, insisted that he genuinely supported them and claimed his popular recordings provided opportunities they would not have had otherwise.

Today, however, technology and social media provide tremendous access to knowledge.  Anyone, should they wish, can learn all they want about an individual’s culture and customs, talk directly to those within the culture, and learn about cultural appropriation error (this is Cultural Appreciation).  Offenders can’t legitimately claim complete oblivion. So, good intentions, oversights, and good wishes only go so far.  Repeated offenses, overtly ignorant statements, and repeated offenses simply can’t be excused.

In all the examples, Latinos weren’t really against others wearing their fashions.  They simply didn’t like others overlooking their heritage, disregarding their traditions, and refusing to acknowledge their ancestry and contributions. They also objected to the double standard, which repeatedly proved, that when the dominate class, Caucasians, mostly, wore their fashions, critics called them pioneering and fresh, yet when they wore the same items, the same people viewed them negatively.

There may be occasions where you disagree with a Latino individual’s claim of cultural appropriation. You may want to say that they’re overreacting or behaving too sensitively. But, when you take time to appreciate from where their pain comes, their history, and investigate these examples, you’ll understand.  Perhaps you’ll even inspire change.

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Missouri Woman Seen Holding Pelosi Sign Faces First Judge In Series Of Court Dates For Federal Charges

Things That Matter

Missouri Woman Seen Holding Pelosi Sign Faces First Judge In Series Of Court Dates For Federal Charges

homegrownterrorists / Instagram

Update January 21, 2021

A Missouri woman named Emily Hernandez had a court hearing in St. Louis after her involvement in the Capitol riots. Hernandez, 21, is facing several federal charges after participating in the deadly Capitol riot.

Emily Hernandez is facing the music after storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

According to KSDK, Hernandez, who is from Sullivan, Missouri, has been released without bond after her first hearing in St. Louis. She has been ordered to stay in the Eastern District of Missouri until her next court date in Washington. Part of the terms of her release is that she is not allowed to travel to Washington other than for her court date.

During the hearing, she was recorded saying, “I’m sorry, I’m nervous.”

Hernandez is facing the following federal charges: knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct which impedes the conduct of government business, steal, sell, convey or dispose of anything of value in the United States, disruptive conduct in the Capitol buildings, parading, demonstrating or picketing in the Capitol buildings.

Original: After a group of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Jan. 6, people immediately started identifying the intruders. Videos have been circulating and people are steadily contacting the FBI to expose them. Instagram page @homegrownterrorists is one of the leading forces in identifying the rioters.

On Jan. 6, people stormed our Capitol building and the American people are demanding justice.

Images of people storming the Capitol building and looting the offices of members of Congress startled people around the world. One of the safest places in the world was overrun by far-right Trump supporters attacking the democratic process. Americans are demanding justice and working together to identify and report as many people to the FBI that were at the Capitol.

The Instagram page is unapologetically encouraging followers to identify people at the Capitol.

Five people died as a result of the riot, two of them were police officers. The Instagram page, run anonymously, is encouraging people to share the photos to their stories to increase the reach. The account might not have any legal power, but it is having some success. There has been more than one person identified through the IG page that has led to people losing jobs and being arrested by the FBI.

The account has disappeared multiple times but always comes back.

The mystery person running the account has expressed concern over their safety. The account has been suspended by Instagram after being reported by multiple people. There has even been some talk about them receiving threats of violence via DMs.

The person who runs the account has mentioned it randomly on their stories but with no real detail. According to recent stories, the person behind the account doesn’t want to antagonize the people sending threats.

The owner of the account did say that they have been contacted by Instagram about the account.

A tweet from HomeGrownTerrorists caught Instagram’s attention and the account was reinstated. However, there was a backup account to keep functioning in case the original got deleted. IG and the account owner reached an agreement where they get to keep the main account and the backup account was permanently banned. No questions asked.

If you want to help or be connected to the cause, you can follow this page on Instagram.

There are a lot of people left to identify and the nation’s law enforcement is bracing for more violence. Capitols in all 50 states are on alert for possible attacks and the National Guard is being mobilized in big numbers for the inauguration. We are not out of the woods when it comes to the threats that have been made.

READ: After Last Week’s Riots, A Black Woman Has Been Appointed to U.S. Capitol Police Chief

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UPS Delivery Man Is Fired After Video Surfaces of His Anti-Latino Racist Rant

Things That Matter

UPS Delivery Man Is Fired After Video Surfaces of His Anti-Latino Racist Rant

Photo courtesy Forward Latino

An unnamed UPS delivery driver has been fired after being caught using racist language when delivering a package to a Latino household. The incident occurred on December 17th.

The video, which was caught on a doorbell camera’s security footage, shows a white UPS driver appearing to be angry when delivering a package.

“Now you don’t get f—–g nothing…You can’t read and write and speak the f—–g English language,” he says while writing a “failed to deliver” notice and pasting it on the house’s front door.

The Aviles family says that the footage shows that the UPS worker never even attempted to deliver the package in the first place. He never rang the doorbell or knocked on the door. Based on that, the family has come to the conclusion that the driver intentionally withheld the package from the family out of prejudice and spite

They believe that the only way the driver could’ve known that the family was Latino was by making assumptions based off the name on the package.

“The only information this driver had that could serve as a trigger for this deep-seated hate was the name on the package,” said Forward Latino President Darryl Morin at a press conference addressing the incident.

“So what we have here is a very intentional act to ruin Christmas for somebody, for someone to spew this hateful rhetoric, and quite honestly to deceive their employer,” Morin continued.

Per UPS, the employee has now been fired. “There is no place in any community for racism, bigotry or hate. This is very serious and we promptly took action, terminating the driver’s employment. UPS is wholeheartedly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion,” UPS said in a statement. They also said they contacted the family to apologize.

But the Aviles family is still rattled that such bigoted people are out and about, letting their petty prejudices effect other people’s lives.

“The package was a Christmas gift that we eventually received after Christmas Day, but what if it happened to have time-sensitive content like an epipen or a book I needed to take a final,” said Shirley Aviles, the mother of the man who lives at the address, told NBC News. “I don’t get it. It’s just sad.”

Aviles seemed disturbed about what this incident says about human nature. “This is about the things people do when they think no one is watching them. That’s important because that’s when you see people’s true colors and that’s what’s scary,”

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