Is Wearing Japanese Style Streetwear Cultural Appropriation?

Japanese style streetwear are eye-catching, fashion-forward, and effortlessly cool. They look great paired with simple jeans or can be dressed up with your favorite linen dress pants. They’re the perfect addition to your wardrobe, whatever the weather. Unfortunately, many people are concerned about wearing these eye-catching clothing for fear of causing offence of being accused of cultural appropriation. Whilst there are many garments this accusation can be leveled against, we don’t think the Japanese style streetwear is one of them. And here’s why:

Japanese Clothing

What is Cultural Appropriation?

Cultural Appropriation has become something of a 2018 buzzword and is definitely something to be aware of, and considerate about. Effectively, cultural appropriation is the act of adopting or using elements of one culture by members of a different culture. It is often viewed as something negative because the minority culture is seen as being wrongfully oppressed by the majority group, or stripped of its unique identity. Some notable examples of cultural appropriation that are viewed negatively include white individuals choosing to wear their hair in dreadlocks, or choosing to dress as a Native American for Halloween.

Why is the Kimono Shirt Excluded from This?

Whilst cultural appropriation is something best avoided, there are several reasons why this concept simply doesn’t apply to the act of wearing a Japanese style clothes. The main reason is that in Japan, the export of Japanese culture and fashions is actively encouraged. The country puts a lot of financial effort into sharing its culture with the rest of the world, and this includes encouraging people from different countries to enjoy their fashions. The people of Japan actively encourage other cultures to enjoy and explore wearing their Japanese styles. The key here is to incorporate your Japanese style clothes into your own wardrobe and inject it with your own sense of style, not to attempt to recreate an entirely Japanese look. It is only at this point that you may be accused of cultural appropriation. Back in 2013, for example, Katy Perry was lambasted for cultural appropriation for dressing as a geisha for her performance at the American Music Awards. However, had she simply chosen to wear a kimono, or embrace another element of Japanese culture into her costume, she would have been complimented for her good taste and excellent fashion sense. Another reason why choosing to wear a kimono shirt is not considered to be cultural appropriation is that the Japanese style street wear is not an object with inherent religious significance.

The verdict?
If you love your Japanese Style Clothes then wear it!

Japanese style clothes are massively on trend right now and have been enjoyed by high profile celebrities such as Harry Styles and David Beckham to great acclaim. If you’d like to follow in their foot prints then why not give it a try? Japanese culture is rich, fascinating, and wonderfully diverse, and these stunning shirts reflect it beautifully. You will never cause offence to a Japanese person as a result of wearing a Japanese style T-shirt or Jacket and you certainly won’t have to worry about being accused of cultural appropriation when wearing these exciting and exotic clothing!

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