What is cultural appropriation, and how does it differ from cultural appreciation?

(The Conversation) — Fashion companies are increasingly being taken to task for selling expensive versions of traditional Indigenous dress. Gucci’s kaftans came with a US$3,500 price tag, which is far more than the $10 that Indians pay for a very similar-looking traditional kurta. Louis Vuitton’s $700 scarfs resembled the keiffyeh that is viewed as a symbol of Palestinian nationalism and sold in much of the Arab world at a far lower cost. Both fashion labels received criticism, but not only for the seemingly inflated prices. They were accused of appropriating Indigenous cultural artifacts for profit. It is also an accusation that has been leveled against many celebrities. The American model Kendall Jenner was accused of “hijacking Mexican culture and wearing it as a costume” for her new Tequila 818 advertising campaign. And Canadian singer Justin Bieber is yet again being accused of cultural appropriation for sporting dreadlocks – a natural hairstyle for people of color across many different civilizations.

What is cultural appropriation, and how does it differ from cultural appreciation?

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