Prada’s sandals: is it cultural appropriation or not?

Prada’s sandals: is it cultural appropriation or not?

Not plagiarism, but unlawful cultural appropriation. This is the accusation, travelling on social media and concerning Prada. The brand created a leather sandal and braided leather straps which, it is said, would be quite similar to a shoe produced in the North East of Brazil. To be precise, in the city of Caruaru, in the province of Pernambuco. To highlight the case is the Brazilian website catracalivre.com.br, through a series of tweets and social interactions.

Unlawful cultural appropriation?

Most of them claim that it is a stylistic appropriation of a shoe that is part of Brazilian artisanal know-how. But the difference in price is inevitably underlined. In other words: 650 euros for Prada, against around 8 euros (but also less) for the Brazilian one. And not only that: other Internet users highlight how sandals similar to those made by Prada can be found in Mexico or Morocco.

It is not the first time

Multiple brands, in recent years, have suffered similar accusations, when they drew inspiration from popular colours and shapes, looking in the most disparate corners of the world. Many designers have often intended to pay tribute to ancient tribes and populations, talking about “cultural appreciation”. But there are those who believe that the decontextualisation of clothes and ornaments serving luxury is only instrumental to increasing sales. Who’s right?

Image from prada.com

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