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The Sézane brand apologizes after a controversial shooting in Mexico – The HuffPost


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The founder of Sézane returned to the controversial shoot organized in Mexico. (Illustrative photo)

FASHION – “I realize, today, that I didn’t have the knowledge to behave the way I should have.” These words are those of the founder of the Brand Parisian Sézane Morgane Sezalory who, via Instagram this Wednesday, January 12, apologized after the broadcast on social networks of the controversial filming of the brand’s last campaign ready to wear.

“I have tried to do things well,” she continues in a post shared by a user named Bupu Cortès, “but I have to admit that I do things with my heart. I was counting on the local production team to warn me about what I could and shouldn’t do. ”

Since this Saturday, January 8, the video of a photo shoot organized in Oaxaca has alerted public opinion in Mexico. We see French photographers taking a picture of an indigenous woman seated on a chair in front of large fabrics, herself dressed in a green Sézane waistcoat.

As she is asked to smile, one of the professionals approaches the old lady, takes her hands and makes her stand up to train her to dance to music by Mary Hopkin, Those Were the Days, as you can see below.

“If we can’t plagiarize their culture, let’s use indigenous people as cultural capital. Indigenous cultures are used as a showcase from which to draw. No respect, no ethics ”, denounces Bupu Cortés in legend of the famous sequence.

8.62 euros free

According to the latter, who works daily to transmit the traditional clothes of her country, the teams had however received instructions in advance not to interfere with the inhabitants. They allegedly ignored their agreement with the municipality, then offered the sum of 200 pesos, or approximately 8.62 euros, to the lady.

This Wednesday, Morgane Sezalory relieved herself of this decision. “I was not aware of the money that was given [à cette dame] because there too it is the production team which took care of it, continues the person in charge of Sézane. I thought she would be as generous and fair as I am, as always. ”

These words appear the day after the publication of a press release from the Instituto Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas (INPI), a government body for the defense of indigenous peoples of Mexico, according to which “the behavior of the representatives of the mark undermines the dignity of indigenous communities and reinforces racist stereotypes ”.

“We will open a dialogue with the authorities of Teotitlán [quartier où a été tourné la vidéo, NDLR] and those aggrieved to take legal action, according to the law ”, continues the official document, before asking foreign companies to“ stop exploiting indigenous peoples as cultural capital ”. “They are not articles of clothing, but citizens of right who have a vast cultural heritage”, remind the authorities.

A coveted heritage

This is not the first time that the country’s indigenous heritage, which makes it proud, has been used in this way. The Zara, Mango and Rapsodia brands have been criticized for appropriating designs from Mexico which, with its 56 ethnic groups, can boast an important artisanal wealth, in particular through its fabrics and embroidery.

In the luxury industry, in 2019, Carolina Herrera, a Venezuelan fashion designer based in the United States, was accused of having copied colorful embroidery specific to the community of Tenango. One later, it was the turn ofIsabel funny after the use, again, of traditional designs on clothing from the French brand. In a letter posted on social networks, Mexican Minister of Culture Alejandra Frausto urged the designer to explain the reasons that led her to privatize “a collective good, using cultural elements whose origin is fully documented” .

In 2015, she had already been denounced for using the patterns of the traditional blouses of the women of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec, again in the state of Oaxaca, for one of her collections.

A reform in progress

We will not take it again. “If the Isabel Marant house, and with it the designer, have disrespected the Purepecha community and in Mexico […], they implore you, Madam Minister, and the country which you represent, to accept their most sincere apologies ”, had then answered the sign, specifying that in the future it will take care to pay“ expressly homage to [ses] sources of inspiration”.

As the Mexico News Daily, the Congress of Oaxaca voted to reform a law on the protection of the heritage of indigenous and Afro-Mexican peoples and communities, in August 2021. This law, which is due to come into force soon, aims to punish any form of looting of cultural and intangible heritage.

According to Bupu Cortés, the Sézane teams left the territory about ten hours after the convictions of the INPI. What about the advertising campaign? Will it indeed be broadcast? Contacted by The HuffPost, the brand has not yet responded to our requests.

See also on The HuffPost: This dancer explains to you what cultural appropriation is in less than 4 minutes



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