For this particular shoot I had some help with my styling from the lovely KristyLeeLoves (also the photographer). The Lola Tassel Coat by Spell Designs, the plain cotton black maxi and the three sizes too small bra all belong to her. I must say though, I fell in LOVE with this cardigan. It feels so incredible and I tell you the wind during this shoot was icy cold and the cardigan did a great job keeping me warm! I'm also in love with the floppy fedora I picked up on sale from Sportsgirl the boots I've had for years now! As for all the jewellery, I literally raided my mums stand and my own and just shoved everything brassy and gold on my neck, arm and fingers. The only ring worth mentioning today is the moonstone my mum picked up for me whilst in Greece! I am also wearing a white tassel armlet from the lovely Vanessa of Crafturday! I am wearing a headdress that I go into detail about below. I though considering this is a fashion blog I would discuss the outfit and accessories first! But feel free to scroll down and read through my discussion of cultural appropriation. I don't go too in depth but I do discuss the major ideas and I explain why I chose to include the headdress in my blog shoot despite knowing the controversy it may provoke.
Lola Tassel Coat- Spell & the Gypsy Collective
Shoes- Tony Bianco
Fringe Armlet- Crafturday
I’ve had this headdress sitting on a hat stand for about two years now. I see it each morning when I wake up and each night before I go to bed and there isn’t a moment that goes by that I don’t think to myself how lovely it is and how I wish it wasn’t just sitting in my room gathering dust.
I guess I knew deep down that wearing this headdress for my blog shoot today would spark some controversy but honestly the only thing that was going through my mind was the idea that I wanted people to see how beautiful this piece of culture was and how my interpretation of it’s cultural significance was the reason that I loved it so much.
I remember bringing it home all the way from Byron Bay in Australia. The drive from the top of NSW all the way to the bottom of Victoria was filled with me leaning over to the back seat making sure it’s feathers were in tact and being sure nothing was leaning on it or crushing it. I even talked myself into the idea that I needed to buy a balloon to sit it on to ensure that it stayed in shape. I would daydream about the orange and white feathers and I almost didn’t want to put it on my head as I thought it was above me. I guess some might say that considering my ‘privilege’ white background that this was in fact true; I had no right to be wearing something that was so significant to another culture other than my own.
This theory makes me angry for two reason, firstly because I love this headdress not only for it’s stunning aesthetics but also for the spiritual meaning and secondly because I know deep down that I have absolutely no right to be angry. I am not Native American; my culture has never been oppressed and I have never experienced cultural genocide. Therefore I know that I could never be angry for people being offended by the fact that I choose to hang a dream catcher above my bed and show off my love for this headdress in my blog shoot.
Though I do wish that my love, respect and appreciation for items from another culture was enough for me to be able to wear something or even join in on rituals and practices without offending someone. In direct relation to my current position I can say that I have taken active steps to further my understanding of Australian’s Indigenous culture. Though there is still the prejudice that my need for understanding may be shallow and superficial due to the fact that I am a 20 something, white, middle class female who also happens to love fashion- therefore I must be disrespectful, ignorant, selfish and materialistic.
I will finish off by saying that I have worn a Bindi, a Pentacle, a Cross, gone to Yoga classes and also partaken in tradition Indigenous Australia dance that was conducted at our university whilst undergoing Indigenous studies. Each time that I have worn an item that is significant to another culture or religion I have always maintained a respectful mindset. I hope that if you are reading this you can appreciate the spiritual and aesthetical beauty of this headdress and understand that I mean no disrespect and this headdress is a much loved part of my life.