A new fashion line from Romania aims to counter cultural appropriation in couture, after several high-profile fashion houses borrowed from traditional ethnic designs in their colllections this year.
Agency McCann Bucharest and fashion magazine Beau Monde created Bihor Couture in response to what it sees as cultural appropriation by several well-known labels. Stella McCartney used traditional African motifs in her Summer/Spring 2018 collection; Louis Vuitton debuted a line of blankets worn as coats by the people of Besotho as part of its its collection; Tory Burch copied a Romanian coat and Dior included a 30,000 Euro Romanian jacket from Bihor in its couture collection.
The makers of Bihor Couture point out that these collections did not credit or reward the communities that inspired them. So, to make sure the actual craftspeople of Bihor benefit from the on-trend designs, Bihor Couture is composed of 100% authentic Romanian creations from Bihor County. Traditional jackets, coats, blouses and skirts are all hand-made by local craftsmen.
"Bihor Couture is not only a brand that sells authentic clothes from Bihor. It serves as a model created to return money to the local communities, so we can enjoy these beautiful traditions for generations to come. The model can serve as an inspiration for other cultures that face the same problem," says Catalin Dobre, chief creative officer, McCann Worldgroup Romania, in a statement.