Fashion

Brand selling Asian salwar kameez as 'vintage dress' mocked for appropriation

A British clothing company has been slated online for selling south Asian salwar kameezes – a dress with trousers and a matching scarf – as ‘vintage Boho dresses’.

Thrifted.com, which started as University sideline business and now operates worldwide as a top ASOS seller, has been criticised for appropriating the cultural fashion staple.

The brand offers a range of salwar kameez tops in a range of different styles, all with the same description, retailing at £29.29.

But each outfit didn’t come with a dupatta or trousers (salwar) as is required with the Asian attire.

One Twitter user shared the image saying: ‘vintage Boho dress????? girl u got on a damn kameez with no salwar’.

After the tweet was shared on Instagram page Desi Couture Official, 400 comments poured in echoing a similar sentiment.

One wrote: ‘The appropriation is real,’ while another said: ‘Culture appropriation at it’s best. Isn’t capitalism great? ‘

Since the backlash, Thrifted has taken down all the dresses which they had bought second hand.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk, a spokesperson said: ‘Thrifted.com purchased a bulk mix of vintage/secondhand dresses from a supplier who had labelled them as “boho”.

‘They were then listed on the website under this name. It was brought to the customer service team’s attention that not all of these secondhand dresses were actually boho dresses.

‘Some were, in fact, south Asian salwar kameezes. All of these items were then removed from our website. We apologise for any offence caused. We are updating our stock checking system as a result.’

Though it’s now been taken down, users on social media were disturbed that the sellers weren’t informed about the items’ cultural significance.

Others said there was a double standard. They wrote: ‘When we wear it, it’s unacceptable. When they wear it, it’s fashion?’

Another person wrote: ‘Ah so that’s what happened to all the shalwar kameez that you send off in the charity donation bags…they become recycled into these. And the trousers are sold separately in the next season’.

Many joked about the lack of trousers: ‘Probably selling the salwar separately, as “vintage Boho harem pants”.’

Another added: ‘I can hear all the aunties yelling at me to put my bottoms on’.

What are your thoughts?

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