Fast fashion retailer Zara is in hot water for one of its newest designs, which is being called out on social media as an example of cultural appropriation.
The store came under fire this week for selling a plaid “check mini skirt,” which the website describes as a “flowing skirt with draped detail in the front.”
However, many were quick to point out on Twitter that the garment suspiciously resembles a lungi, or lungyi, longyi, sarong, etc., traditionally worn by people in India and other South and Southeast Asian countries.
Elizabeth Segran, a reporter for Fast Company who grew up in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, described the lungi as a popular item worn by many people, mostly men, “who wanted something casual, cool and relaxed to wear in the equatorial heat of Southeast Asia. They’re the garment of the masses, a great equalizer, worn by both royalty and day laborers.”
The reporter also noted that an everyday sarong typically costs under $3, which is a stark contrast to Zara’s $90 price tag. And while people clearly took issue with the hefty price tag, they were also upset by the fact that Zara failed to credit the lungi as inspiration for the piece.