Little Mix's PrettyLittleThing collection is being accused of "cultural appropriation"

13 November 2019, 13:49

Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

"You're actively contributing to the fetishization and cultural appropriation of Chinese culture."

Little Mix recently launched their collaboration with fashion brand PrettyLittleThing, and many of the pieces are already sold out. However, the collection is receiving backlash because of its obvious Asian aesthetic and because some of the items have been labelled as "oriental".

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The range, which includes clothing and accessories, is based on the qipao, a traditional silk dress that originated in China in the 17th century. In one image, Jade Thrilwall wears the crop top and skirt version of the qipao, while Perrie Edwards wears the dress version with a thigh-high slit.

Little Mix x PrettyLittleThing.
Little Mix x PrettyLittleThing. Picture: PrettyLittleThing

The items are all in an "oriental print" and they also include bags, sandals and boots in the same fabric. However, in many places, it is now considered politically incorrect to use the word "oriental", which is the historical term for the East or East Asia. In 2016, President Barack Obama even banned the use of the term from being used in federal laws and documents. However, in the UK, it is not considered to be an offensive term and is still used by the British police.

Although some of the pieces have proved popular, the items have been accused of "fetishising Asian women" and "reducing Chinese culture down to exoticism". People are particularly offended that the brand have "sexualised" traditional wear to adhere to their aesthetic because the sexualisation of Asian women has occurred throughout history.

And because none of the girls have ever expressed that they are of Chinese or even East Asian descent, some are offended by the collection.

So far, neither Little Mix nor the brand have publicly responded to the backlash.