'Free People' Accused Of Appropriating Native American Culture

With their newest accessory line, the company is being accused of stealing Native culture. Do you agree?

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Another day, another company embroiled in a cultural appropriation controversy. The latest offender is Free People, whose festival wear line has caused a fair share of ire across the interwebs, Today reports.

The recently released ad campaign features all manner of headdresses, ear cuffs, and—honest to God—rainsticks. Many of the items for sale can be described as Native American-inspired—very, very loosely. You can appropriate Native culture too, as long as you have hundreds of dollars to spend on an overpriced headress.

Twitter noticed, because when does the Twitterverse ever miss anything?

URBN, the company that owns Free People, has not yet commented on the situation. This isn't the first time the company has been accused of cultural appropriation. URBN, which also owns Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, came under fire for selling Navajo-branded clothing and accessories in 2011. The Navajo nation even filed a lawsuit against them, insisting that they stop inaccurately branding their products, but the company was unfazed, even going so far as to seem completely unapologetic in their responses.

"Like many other fashion brands, we interpret trends and will continue to do so for years to come," company spokesman Ed Looram said of the situation. "The Native American-inspired trend and specifically the term 'Navajo' have been cycling through fashion, fine art and design for the last few years."

So does that mean we shouldn't hold our breath for an apology this time around?

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