Mexico accuses clothing brands of stealing native designs

The Mexican government again accuses major clothing brands of using native Mexican designs without asking for permission. The Ministry of Culture wants satisfaction for indigenous peoples of the country. Minister Alejandra Frausto speaks of ‘cultural appropriation’, which she believes is harmful to the economy and culture of indigenous peoples in the southern state of Oaxaca.

Frausto now has three brands in its sights: Zara, Anthropologie and Patowl. She gives as an example a belt on a skirt of Zara on which she says there are clearly patterns of the Mixteken. She even knows how to name the place where those patterns come from, San Juan in the west of Oxaca state. According to Frausto, the American brand Anthropologie also uses designs of the Mixteken on Marka shorts and the company Patowl copies traditional decorations of the Zapotecs on T-shirts.

The Mexican government has also previously opposed the use of designs by indigenous peoples without any permission, let alone compensation. The country has more than fifty ethnic groups. Previously, Mexico complained about the French fashion designer Isabel Marant, her Venezuelan colleague Carolina Herrera and the Spanish companies Mango and Rapsodia.