Controversy has been sparked this week over a native design featured in a fashion runaway release causing an inspiration feud between the brand and another designer claiming that her design had been robbed.
Native American designer, Bethany Yellowtail took to instagram during February 2015 New York Fashion week, after KTZ’s catwalk release of their new line featuring indigenous native designs in which Yellowtail claims has been lazily knocked off as their own by KTZ.
‘The dress as stated on my website embodies a Crow design from my great great grandmother…funny I didn’t realize @ktz_official knew the Yellowtails or the Crow people” she writes.
“It’s one thing for designers to be unoriginal and knock off other peoples designs but what happens when you blatantly take cultural valuable designs from Indigenous people? Let’s find out….#CanANativeLive #boycott #KTZ #ktzofficial #boycottKTZ“
Yellowtail states that the hourglass motif, featured in the KTZ design as well as her own, has been in her family for generations. Her great great grandmother and her involvement in the native tribe inspired it. Yellowtail also comments on the misinterpretation and appropriation by outsiders of her native background, lazily calling it ‘inspired’ fashion.
Marjan Pejoski, creative director and designer for KTZ positioned this line at New York fashion week as a tribute to “the primal woman indigenous to the land”
But many were not convinced.
An online discussion has since kicked off with many commenting on the cultural appropriation leading to Kelly Cutruone, fashion PR maven and representive for KTZ to comment. Cutruone states that KTZ draws inspiration from various sources other than simply just the indigenous culture.
“Marjan has been inspired by native tribes over the past twenty years and featuring this inspiration in her designs ever since”
If you are trying to pay tribute to a culture, the inclusion and collaboration with the indigenous is key as it steers negative comments on the collection instead making the culture inspired by fashion a positive vibe instead of a accused knock off.
Although even if there is a similarity, these images have existed for hundreds of years. As well as many patterns in fashion nowadays, hence the Aztec pattern trend in fashion in past seasons.