Latest Newsletter🍵 Biden awards Asian artistsRead


Ivanka Trump Accused of Cultural Appropriation After Wearing ‘Asian’ Dresses During India Visit

    Asian America Daily - in under 5 minutes

    Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories, to your inbox daily, for free!

    Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive

    Ivanka Trump has been accused of cultural appropriation after wearing dresses with “Indian-inspired” prints during her visit to the South Asian country last week.

    Cultural appropriation, the sociological concept referring to the adoption of elements from a culture outside one’s own, is becoming particularly problematic when they are taken without thorough understanding or respect.

    Apparently, critics are unhappy that the first daughter chose to wear “hybrid” clothing from Western designers instead of “authentic” ones from Indian designers.

    For one, Bandana Tewari, editor of Vogue India, told The New York Times:

    “If Ivanka’s clothes are to be an acknowledgment of an ancient and rich culture like ours, especially as she arrives as a dignitary, then the sartorial ‘tribute’ should be authentic in its intention.”

    “We would rather see her wear a hand-woven sari made in our country or a handmade gown made in her own country. But to hybridize the two, in an era of unfiltered diversity, is a superfluous nod to half-acceptance.”

    Trump was in India to lead the U.S. delegation to the eighth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit. She was seen wearing at least five “Indian-inspired” garments throughout her visit.

    Media outlets also compared Trump’s choices to those of Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama and her own stepmother, Melania Trump.

    Indian opinion site DailyO, which called her a “botoxed Barbie,” described her look from the first day of the summit:

    “For day one of the summit, she walked out in a $3,500 Erdem dress that vaguely referenced the orient with its floral print. She compounded this superficial assimilation of culture with yet another Tory Burch outfit. This time a floral gown that looked like a ‘me-too’ of a Kashmiri pheran for the prime minister’s banquet at the Taj Falaknuma Palace.”

    While Trump is certainly getting flak from some, others are hesitant to accuse her of cultural appropriation. Dr. Rina Arya, an art theorist from the University of Wolverhampton in England, is one.

    Dr. Arya, who has written on the appropriation of Hindu symbols, told Newsweek:

    “On a cursory level, by adapting Indian design styles, she can be accused of cultural appropriation. But if we want to be analytical about it, the question runs far deeper than that, and we need to look at her motivation for dressing the way she did, her understanding of the Indian culture, et cetera before such a claim is made.”

    “The fact she departed from her usual style of dress to styles that were more covered up should be considered as an attempt to be respectful.”

    Tell us what you think of Ivanka Trump’s “Indian-inspired” dresses below!

    Support our Journalism with a Contribution

    Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

    Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

    However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

    We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way.  Thank you for everyone's support. We love you all and can't appreciate you guys enough.

    Support NextShark

    Mastercard, Visa, Amex, Discover, Paypal