Did Missoni Missapropriate Jamaican Culture?

Jam

This week, it was Jamaica’s turn to get whipped around in the high fashion laundry machine, Ashelye Hoffman reports in stylelite.com.

The M Missoni Resort 2015 collection was about leisure, beautiful silhouettes and a relaxed vibe. Unfortunately it was also about co-opting the colors of Jamaican flag, and dressing a white woman with white blonde hair, who probably comes near drums as often as she does Jamaican beef patties, in a drum bag, raffia and some crafty basketweaving. That textured drum bag might be a beautiful dense patchwork of a red, yellow and green, but considering Jamaica is full of slums not too far from its resorts, her wearing is weird.

I could forego food for a month or two and wear the easygoing jumpsuit on my “vacation” (zoning out with my eyes open.) The ribbing on the colorful knitwear is so gorgeous I’m tempted to daydream about kicking it on an island only the 1% can name, but I’d probably look like a costumed idiot. The Caribbean prints on the parachute pants are telling a story of a woman who jets to Jamaica, gets high, loads up on cheap goods from the artisans this collection insults, and force-feeds you a photo slideshow of her beach selfies. Seeing the palette of the Jamaican flag crocheted and spewed out like this is loaded, but putting it on such a milky white model seems to be asking for a challenge.

I get it. The genesis of this was probably a celebration of the artisan community rather than exercise in thievery, but that rests on the assumption that they want to be celebrated like this. And who is wearing the collection? People on vacation. People who would gravitate towards Missoni’s stunning craftsmanship with or without this kind of shameless co-opting. There are  positive ways to embrace a country, but they don’t include googling Bob Marley and hitting the sewing machine.

To their credit, Missoni is a philanthropic company. Margherita Missoni has sold her wardrobe to benefit OrphanAid Africa and created a shoe to benefit children who live on land mines and municipal dumps. But this is a study in why dabbling in this kind of prickly “reverence” needs subtlety. Even Margot Tenenbaum had more decency in The Royal Tenenbaums when she joined a Reggae band.

For the original report go to http://www.styleite.com/features/opinion/did-missoni-missapropriate-jamaican-culture/

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