Fashion is often inspired by other cultures. Cries of cultural appropriation are sometimes overblown, sometimes not. But at a time where asian actors are trying to gain equal pay while dismissing ongoing racist caricatures, along comes photographer Billy Kidd in an advertorial for Chanel in Interview Magazine.
- Yes, some asians wear straw hats while farming
- Yes, some asians use a carrying pole.
But in New York City:
- No, asians do not wear straw hats (with a Chanel logo) in Chinatown
- Nor do they use carrying poles
- Chinese people don’t wear tabi (toe socks)
- They have the highest rate of poverty in New York City
- They are victims of domestic violence and human trafficking
- They live in tiny apartment, and are just trying to make a living
The images are not “cool” or “awesome.” They play upon outdated racist stereotypes that view asians as straw hat wearing peasants in the name of fashion.
What is gained by such a shallow depiction?