There’s a thin line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. The latter has drawn the ire of the fashion community by way of Paul Frank’s Fashion Night Out event.
The designer hosted a “Dream Catchin” party with a Native American culture theme. Employees and celebrities wore glow-in-the-dark war paint, feather headbands, bow and arrows and posed with prop tomahawks, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Jezebel reports Paul Frank’s monkey was dressed in a feather headdress and there were “specialty cocktails with names like “Rain Dance Refresher,” “Dream Catcher,” and “Neon Teepee.”
The soirée had bloggers, including some of Native American descent, in an uproar, calling the event as a mockery of their culture.
Paul Frank offered this apology on Facebook in response:
“Paul Frank celebrates diversity and is inspired by many rich cultures from around the world. The theme of our Fashion’s Night Out event was in no way meant to disrespect the Native American culture, however due to some comments we have received we are removing all photos from the event and would like to formally and sincerely apologize. Thank you everyone for your feedback and support.”
The reactions have been varied. While some feel it is as disrespectful to Native American culture as a party of blackface, others feel it’s not racist, since it’s not meant to be hateful.