Roberts, E. 2016. “Why Your Festival Style Might Be Offensive.”

Roberts, Ellie. May 10 2016. “Why Your Festival Style Might Be Offensive.” Painting Bohemia. Accessed March 6 2017.

Notes cultural appropriation’s tendencies to be connected to innovative fashion at music festivals, but requires monitor/control. Almost impossible to avoid within U.S. culture (as it is a mixture of many cultures); many folks who participate in it are not intentionally doing so to be disrespectful, may choose other options if appropriately informed.

Chantelle DMello: “cultural appropriation is not merely the act of wearing or partaking in cultural symbols & practices that do not belong to you, it’s a system of exploitation & capitalization on cultural symbols & practices that do not a) originate from b) benefit c) circle back to the culture in question” (2016)

Personally defines cultural appropriation as “he exploitation and inappropriate usage of cultural symbols and practices that disrespects the culture from which it originates. In other words, the reinforcement of common stereotypes cultures face”.

Critiques use of bindis, headdresses, and dashikis at Coachella.

For dashikis: “According to my observations at Coachella this year, the third most commonly abused cultural item as music festivals is the Dashiki. The dashiki is a brightly colored, loose shirt traditionally worn by African men. During the Black cultural movements in the 1960s, the dashiki made its way to America and served as a symbol of rebellion against traditional standards for African American men’s fashion, “the dashiki was worn as a way to protest society’s disrespect for African Americans. It was a symbol of affirmation, it stood for “black is beautiful,” and signaled a return to African roots, and insistence on full rights in American society” (African Imports Business Blog). Even today the dashiki still serves as a symbol of the steps made for African Americans in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and their appreciation for their roots.”

Reasons on why people culturally appropriate: “People who made these insensitive fashion choices did not understand either what their pieces symbolized or why they were offensive. It seems that cultural appropriation isn’t intentional, but it stems from a lack of understanding for culture and its significance. People culturally appropriate not to offend others, but to be seen as fashionable and cool. They often do not put the effort into thinking about how they are presenting themselves, they simply just play follow the leader and dress how they think they should in order to appear “fashionable.” Wearing something from a foreign place makes the wearer feel exotic, and therefore more sought after.”

Hearkens to Said’s Orientalism and notion of “the Other” — although Said notes that being “the Other” is stigmatizing, notes that there is benefit to being “the Other” in festivals: “Using these culturally appropriative items often brings about the adjectives of unpredictable and striking, just as Said says he describes the word exotic. Being exotic is being striking and mysterious, which is what many cultural appropriation offenders are aiming for. Being “the other” at these music festivals makes you stand out. People want to be cool and different, and separating themselves from the crowd by any means possible becomes a goal. Wearing things like bindis and head dresses that are not often understood by the young, festival attending teens who just want to seem cool and appear to society as the “other.” Cultural appropriation often stems from a simple lack of understanding for culture and a desire to be “the other” and appear as exotic and desirable. Other times, people understand that what they are wearing is culturally appropriative and they simply wear it to look cool.”

Advocates for continued ban of headdresses, though notes the complication of regulating bindis and dashikis, as they may be in specific non-sacred use by members of those communities. Also, advocates for further awareness campaigns – in form of memo during ticket purchase, pamphlets with wristbands — historicizing and identifying commonly-appropriated goods, and setting up guidelines for how to approach others with offensive fashions.  No less, “It is important to emphasize the creation of a dialogue here, instead of one side simply assuming things about the other. In creating this dialogue, we can allow for empathy and understanding to come about both parties, eliminating the feelings of offense and creating a deeper understanding for one another.”

“If people are educated on the meaning of their clothing and why it is disrespectful to the members of the culture from which it originates, people will choose not to wear them. Education may also lead to appreciation of these items, instead of appropriation. The celebration of culture is something that is very important, as we live in a world where there is a ton of cultural cross over and avoiding culture altogether is impossible. Instead of reinforcing stereotypes about cultures and appropriating their sacred symbols and clothing, we should emphasize that appreciating these items is okay, as long as the wearer has a strong understanding of their clothing choices”.


DMello, Chantelle. “Everything You Need To Know About Cultural Appropriation, In 1 Minute.” Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 26 Apr. 2016. Web.
“Coachella Fashion – Cultural Appropriation 101 | Designer Swap.” Designer Swap. N.p., 2014. Web. 01 May 2016.


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