Fast-fashion retailer Zara is in trouble again. As the store is testing its first click-and-click concept store in London’s Westfield shopping center, it's also facing criticism for selling a check mini skirt which some shoppers believe rips off a lungi, a garment typically worn by men in countries like Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Somaliland, Nepal, Cambodia, Djibouti, Myanmar, and Thailand; regions where it gets a bit too hot to wear pants for long hours at a time.
The criticism began on Tuesday when a users took to Twitter to accuse the retailer for appropriating the South Asian fashion with attributing its inspiration (but when do they ever?). The Telegraph notes a lungi is a “grandpa’s uniform,” and typically wouldn’t ever cost the financial equivalent of $89.90, and according to the BBC, it usually only costs a few dollars at local street markets. Zara describes the skirt as a “checked mini” with a “front slit detail at the hem” and “zip fastening in the back, hidden along the seam.”
The BBC also pointed out the hypocrisy of the fast-fashion retailer producing their clothing for pennies on the dollar in Asian countries and then stealing pieces from the culture without properly acknowledging where the inspiration came from. For the record, Zara has also been in hot water for selling a children’s shirt that resembled concentration camp uniforms in 2014, and most recently, a denim skirt with Pepe the Frog on it, now a symbol of the alt-right movement. So they're certainly not new to controversy.
Results seem to be mixed when it comes to whether or not this skirt, which at the time of this article’s publication was still for sale online, is actually cultural appropriative, or something inspired by Indian street style. Keep reading to see what Twitter users had to say on the matter — chic checked mini or grandpa’s uniform?
Me: "Hahahahahah what's with that dumbass £70 lungi from Zara. Pachaas rupaye ki milti hai. Yeh firangs bhi naa, complete idiots."— Akshar (@AksharPathak) January 30, 2018
Starbucks' barista: "What'll you have, sir?"
Me: "One Turmeric Spiced Chai Latte"