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Louis Vuitton Accused Of Cultural Appropriation For $700 Palestinian Scarf

by : Emily Brown on : 03 Jun 2021 10:45
Louis Vuitton Accused Of Cultural Appropriation For $700 Palestinian ScarfLouis Vuitton/PA Images

Louis Vuitton is facing accusations of cultural appropriation for a scarf it describes as ‘inspired by the classic Keffieh’ – a headdress seen as a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.

The ‘Monogram Keffieh Stole’ is on sale from the luxury designer for $705 and comes in blue and white material ‘enriched with House signatures’.

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A description on the Louis Vuitton website reads: ‘A jacquard weave technique is used to create the intricate Monogram patterns on its base of blended cotton, wool and silk. Soft and lightweight with fringed edges, this timeless accessory creates an easygoing mood.’

After social media users became aware of the scarf, many began to accuse the designer of cultural appropriation and slammed it for failing to acknowledge the connotations the scarf carries in Palestine.

One frustrated Twitter user wrote: 

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So Louis Vuitton suddenly decides make-sell Kaffiyehs worth $700? Given what’s happening in Palestine right now, this is more than just cultural appropriation. It’s downright insensitive and disrespectful. Kaffiyehs symbolize liberation & solidarity.

Is a single penny going to be used for a cause/fundraiser? No. Money like this can feed a family for weeks. But LV will just profit from this bullshit and get out of this w a clean slate because, capitalism favours exploiters like them innit?

Another person described the creation of the scarf and the designer’s attempt to profit off it as ‘beyond disgraceful,’ while another said: ‘Unless Louis Vuitton is fundraising for the resistance in Palestine, this is cultural appropriation at its finest & just plain tone deaf. $705 – AND sold out apparently. And the description! “Timeless accessory for an easygoing mood”…. seriously?’

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While Louis Vuitton’s scarf is blue and white, the keffiyeh is traditionally black and white and has become synonymous with Palestinian liberation movements.

According to Insider, Hirbawi Textile Factory, which describes itself as the Palestinian territories’ last and only keffiyeh factory, dubbed the scarf ‘the unofficial Palestinian flag,’ and is said to represent ‘a fishing net, a honeycomb, the joining of hands, or the marks of dirt and sweat wiped off a worker’s brow, among other things.’

In 2019, Palestinian fashion designer Omar Joseph Nasser-Khoury told The Guardian the scarf represented ‘dispossession, systematic displacement, extrajudicial killings [and] oppression.’

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As well as taking issue with the scarf itself, many Twitter users highlighted Louis Vuitton’s choice of colours, noting that blue and white are the colours of Israel’s flag.

One person questioned whether the use of the colours was ‘some form of passive political commentary’, while another wrote: ‘Are you guys kidding me?… You can design it with black and white color but not BLUE’.

Watchdog Instagram account Diet Prada has previously quoted a source associated with LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton, saying the company’s stance on politics is ‘neutral’.

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Diet Prada honed in on this statement as it criticised the scarf, writing: ‘So LVMH’s stance on politics is ‘neutral,’ but they’re still making a $705 logo-emblazoned keffiyeh, which is a traditional Arab headdress that’s become a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.’

The critical post has received thousands of likes, with many Instagram users expressing their agreement and shock at the scarf.

Featured Image Credit: Louis Vuitton/PA Images

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Fashion, Israel, Now, Palestine

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  1. Insider

    Louis Vuitton faces backlash for selling scarf inspired by traditional Palestinian keffiyeh