Judging by fans’ reactions, people are not happy with Little Mix‘s new clothing line. On November 7, the four-piece British girl band teamed up with UK fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing and released a brand new collection. At first, Mixers were over-the-moon about being able to purchase items designed by the girls — Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jesy Nelson. However, once the line was officially available for purchase, fans accused the “Bounce Back” singers of cultural appropriating some of the pieces.
The clothing range included dresses and accessories based on the qipao, a traditional silk dress that originated in China in the 17th century. Each piece includes the word “Oriental” in the title. The use of “Oriental,” an outdated term deemed racist by many people of Asian descent, further added to the social media backlash.
Fans were quick to slam the girl group by accusing the “Oriental” clothing items of encouraging “exoticism” and “fetishization and cultural appropriation of Chinese culture.”
“I’m sorry but what?? First of all your ‘oriental’ clothing is nothing like that of actual traditional [qipaos], but the fact that you’re actively contributing to the fetishization and cultural appropriation of Chinese culture is just… not ok,” one fan said, with another adding, “So I saw a poster for this in the tube and I’m not entirely sure how to feel about this? I feel like there’s so many things wrong with this? Exoticism, cultural appropriation, use of the word oriental…? Or is it just Fashion now?”
Another fan called out Little Mix on Twitter and noted it was ironic that they have “built an image of empowerment of women,” but didn’t realize how this could be appropriating Asian culture. The girls have yet to respond to the backlash or apologize for upsetting fans, but some of the pieces have already sold out on PrettyLittleThing’s website.
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