Last year, the Romanian region of Bihor was thrust into the media spotlight after Dior‘s pre-fall 2017 collection bore striking resemblance to the county’s traditional dress.
The French fashion house came under fire for the line after locals couldn’t help but notice that one jacket in particular sought inspiration from the community’s Bihor waistcoat.
#GiveCredit #BihorNotDior. Open letter to Maria Grazia Chiuri, the artistic director of @dior . Please share. . Dear @mariagraziachiuri, Paris and France have always been an inspiration to our community. We're glad to have inspired you too, but saddened that you didn't mention us in the description of the Dior Pre Fall 2017 collection. Three of the fabulous outfits in this collection originate directly from Romanian culture and spirituality: a vest (cojoc binşenesc) from Bihor (in Northwestern Romania), another type of vest (bundiță) from Bucovina (in Northeastern Romania), as well as a coat from Bihor. We ask you to please correct this omission, and to give credit to the Romanian artisans who have, from generation to generation, created and passed on these authentic collective works of art. Through these creations they have communicated their identity, their story, and their vision of the world, for centuries. In exchange for using their traditional cultural expressions and traditional knowledge for commercial purposes, we ask you to fairly compensate the local community of artisans. . Thank you, La Blouse Roumaine community #DIOR #BIHOR #ROMANIA #culturalappropriation #artisans @fash_rev @fash_revromania @diet_prada
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With an eye-watering price tag of 30,000 euros (approximately £26,500), the luxury label did not offer the region a slice of profit – most probably because Dior never credited its source of inspiration.
In response to the alleged plagiarism, fashion label Blouse Roumaine – which supports local designers – took to Instagram to pen an open letter to Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri.
According to Ebihoreanul, Mr. Moise Gavra is the last craftsman of Bihor specialized in manufacturing traditional sheepskin vests and coats. He was nominated for the LIVING HUMAN TREASURE title, which is, according to UNESCO, a person who possesses to a high degree the knowledge and skills required for performing or re-creating specific elements of the intangible cultural heritage. Last year, one of Bihor's iconic traditional sheepskin vests was copied by Dior for its Pre-Fall 2017 collection. It was named Bohemian Vest and sold with a price around 15.000 euro. Mr. Moise Gavra's retirement income is 150 euro per month and an authentic sheepskin vest starts from 500 euros. It's really embarrassing for a brand like Dior to use an endangered cultural object as its own design and to not give credit and any compensation to the local community of artisans. . . #dior #fashionweek #givecredit #giveback #culturalappropriation #fairtrade #fairpay #ethicalfashionb #dietprada #copycat #bihornotdior #romania🇹🇩
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The brand wrote: “We’re glad to have inspired you, but saddened that you didn’t mention us in the description of the Dior Pre Fall 2017 collection. Three of the fabulous outfits in this collection originate directly from Romanian culture and spirituality: a vest (cojoc binşenesc) from Bihor (in Northwestern Romania), another type of vest (bundiță) from Bucovina (in Northeastern Romania), as well as a coat from Bihor [sic].”
The label also asked that designers across the region who work hard to preserve their traditional cultural expressions receive compensation.
But Romanian designers weren’t going to let the cultural appropriation go unnoticed, as Romanian fashion magazine, Beau Monde, promptly launched a campaign to support the local industry.
Romanian Dior. It’s wasn’t just one Bihor, but 4 pieces inspired from the Romanian traditional sheepskin vests. They all are described as Bohemian Embroidered vests. . . Cultural appropriation is “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary. Cultural appropriation occurs when a more powerful person or institution projects the culture of a less powerful person, according to Dr. Luis Urrieta, an author and professor of cultural studies in education at the University of Texas at Austin. Urrieta says that appropriation involves this differential in power. It also often involves obscuring or erasing the meaning behind the cultural item. . #givecredit #dior #bihor #bucovina #traditionalclothes #copycat #culturalappropriation #plagiarism #romania #bihornotdior #bucovinanotdior
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In a bid to help preserve their age-old traditions, the publication founded Bihor Couture which enables fashion followers to invest in locally produced clothing at a fair price.
To quote local craftswoman Dorina Hanza: “Anything from here [the region] could be a fashion sensation.”
Dior has yet to comment on the allegations.
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