|Tear from GRAZIA magazine fashion section|
If anyone is a follower of current fashion trends, they are familiar with the explosion of native American tribal designs reaching retail stores and runways worldwide. It is hard not to find a retailer now that is not a source of moccasins, feather earrings, and other “native American” prints on shirts, sweaters, towels, and even undergarments. Until recently, Urban Outfitters, one of the largest well known retail stores for hip and trendy customers, used the name “Navajo” for part of their clothing line. The Navajo Nation’s government, very upset and offended, sent a letter to Urban Outfitters for trademark infringement. While the retailer responded immediately by using a different name for that particular line, other companies are still taking advantage of this sensitive subject. Urban Outfitters is not the only one guilty of using the term "Navajo". Barney's as well as magazines such as Cosmo, Grazia and Lucky have thrown the word around as well. Most retailers will argue that that the cultural appropriation of these prints is not meant to offend Native Americans, it is simply what is 'trendy' right now.
|'Navajo' Shirt now 'Printed' Shirt from UrbanOutfitters|
|'Navajo' Flask now 'Printed' Flask from Urban Outfitters|
|'Navajo' Boy shorts now 'Printed' Boy Shorts from Urban Outfitters|
Clothing stores is not the only place you can see this explosion of Native American prints and style. High Fashion photographers have incorporated these styles into conceptual photoshoots.
|Old Surehand | Milana Krus by Alexey Kolpakov for L' Officiel Russia April 2011|
Graphic Artists have also incorporated Native American prints into their work such as this artist who runs an art blog tornadoesonthesun.com
As well as printmakers such as this local Austin artist that sells locally around town:
The trend is also seen in interior design. Home magazines showcase touches of Native American items around the home as modern and trendy.
The explosion of this trend has gone extremely far into many realms of art. It has overtaken the fashion world, and inspired not only home interiors but graphic design and photography. I as an admirer of the Native American culture initially embraced the flooding of these prints into modern society because of my appreciation for the culture. It however, I feel has gone a bit too far. There is such a saturation of usage of these prints and cultural idiosyncrasies that it is somewhat offensive. Most of these retailers, designers and artists are taking something that is very sacred to Native American culture and commercializing it. Not to say that everyone who appropriates these cultural things is doing it maliciously, but rather, ignorantly. It is a sensitive issue that people seem to be making a lot of money on without any consideration for the source.