“Tribal” Fashion Collection Angers Native Americans

Mar 04, 2015 at 4:57 AM ET

A new Native American-inspired fashion line by Canadian fashion label Dsquared2 has been labeled the most racist collection of 2015 by social media audiences at Milan Fashion Week. Outraged social media users immediately bombarded Dsquared2’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account with angry comments.

Dsquared2’s designers, twin brothers Dean and Dan Caten, called this their #Dsquaw collection and used the racial slur in their official hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. On Facebook, the brand said their new collection combines “the enchantment of Canadian Indian tribes” with the “confident attitude of the British aristocracy.”

This backlash comes just weeks after the New York Fashion week controversy, when Native American fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail accused London-based KTZ of appropriating her designs in their new Spring collection.

Some of the ongoing backlash comes directly a growing social media network of Native American fashion professionals, like Johnnie Jae, a partner at Native Max Magazine. Native American designers and fashion critics are largely absent from the catwalk, and feel insulted by and excluded from the global industry profiting from “tribal” fashion trends.