Italian fashion house Versace has been accused of cultural appropriation for failing to credit the source of its new “boxer shorts.”
The garment, part of its men’s Fall-Winter 2019-20 collection, debuted at the Milan Fashion Week on Jan. 12.
Dutch model Imaan Hammam wore the shorts on the runway with a silk top and a formal suit.
“Imaan Hammam is a knockout on the #VersaceFW19 runway in an all silk look featuring embroidered boxer shorts paired with a formal suit,” the company wrote in an Instagram post.
Versace then took to Twitter to showcase the shorts with other ensembles that graced the runway.
“Every detail from the #VersaceFW19 men’s runway show speaks of confidence.”
In both posts, netizens called out Versace for overlooking the origin of its shorts — Muay Thai — and accused the company of cultural appropriation.
Muay Thai, also known as the “art of eight limbs,” is the Thai national sport characterized by stand-up striking and clinching techniques, utilizing the fists, elbows, knees and shins.
While the combat sport is uniquely Thai, it draws elements from western boxing, including the choice of shorts for apparel. However, these shorts must adhere to certain norms, especially in their use of design elements.
“For those who are unfamiliar with Thai culture, it is worth mentioning that certain design elements are not appropriate for Muay Thai shorts. They might even be offensive to the Thais,” Muay Thai Citizen noted, warning against the use of the Garuda — the Thai national emblem — in the garment.
But in the case of Versace, a little bit of recognition of Thai culture may be all that was needed.
Netizens slammed the company:
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