I've voiced my opinion several times on cultural appropriation in the fashion industry and marketing world. The tank I am wearing in today's Lollapalooza inspired outfit is an example of that form of exploitation of cultural aspects for monetary gain. The print on my tank is inspired by a dashiki, a popular article of clothing common to West African cultures, and does not deserve to be mass marketed by white owned clothing stores in order for white executives to gain money. Previously, I've called out stores such as Urban Outfitters for doing just that. Today, this call out is to Forever 21. Cultural clothing doesn't deserve to be worn by those who are not apart of that culture. I know this is a touchy subject for some who don't believe Black Americans should wear African inspired clothing, but the only difference between those born in Africa and those born in America is that we (Americans) are unable to trace our roots because our ancestors were captured from their homeland.
That being said, I've been wanting a dashiki printed shirt for quite sometime now, but was leery of purchasing from an IG boutique that I wasn't familiar with. I was thrilled and at the same time disappointed to find this shirt at Forever 21. I was happy because the shirt I had been praying to find for a lesser price somewhere was now suddenly available, but disappointed that big business was making money off of a cultural aspect. This shirt was on clearance, so thankfully it was the only shirt available for purchase (I checked the section up and down to be sure). This shirt was on sale for only $6.99, and was originally priced at $24.99. If you do come across this tank in Forever 21 stores, please do not purchase it if you are not of African descendant.
Dashikis are known for their colorful patterns. This tank is filled with bright blues, oranges and soft shades of tan, all outlined in black. I wanted to incorporate color into my outfit. I choose an orange button down skirt from Wet Seal as my bottom piece for this reason. I purchased this skirt in May during Wet Seal's Last Chance Sale. It is technically an autumn piece, hence the deep, rich color.
For this look, I choose trendy pieces to accessorize the outfit, in an effort to keep my focus piece as my tank. I am wearing a thick, velvet choker from Forever21.com. It is likely that this choker is also available in store, however, if you live in the middle of nowhere, Kansas, like me you will rarely find trending pieces in a store full of flannel button downs and cut off shorts. My hat is also from Forever 21 and is a velvet, fedora hat. Unless you want to look like Al Capone, never pull your fedora all the way down on your forehead. Instead, allow it to rest on the back of your head, like mine in the photo. If you're looking for gladiator sandals like mine, I suggest, Shophopes.com! Currently, they have gladiator sandals available in the sale folder for 50% off!
This is also another perfect look for August's Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn, NY. More info to come on that in late August!
- Chelsea Nicole, The Mod Little Melanin 💋
The Mod Little Melanin
The Mod Little Melanin
A Fashion Blog by Chelsea Nicole.