ASOS launched an Indian “bridal” line: is it cultural appropriation or more inclusivity?

The UK based online retailer and marketplace ASOS just expanded their bridal range to include South-Asian inspired clothing. The company announced the launch via twitter on the 27th April 2021. This tweet has sparked immediate response from South Asian communities all around the world. Currently, all the dresses of the collection are sold out.

ASOS via twitter

The tweet is facing a lot of backlash, as can be seen under its comment section. Many people don’t think it’s a good idea, and called out the brand for gentrification and cultural appropriation. They were worried about fast fashion producing clothing with cultural significance, and labelling them as “fashion” could possibly generate misuse of the clothing by the mass public.

via Twitter

Commentators were quick to remind us of ASOS’s past mistakes when designing and marketing ethnic clothing and accessories.

via Twitter

Others were not impressed by the designs, calling the bridal dresses “culturally inaccurate” or “tacky”.

via Twitter

Some also raised concern about the provenance of the dresses, implicating that the garments might be sourced unsustainable or unethically, as it is a common practice for most fast fashion labels.

via Twitter

“So promote small business then.. I really don’t like the idea of this… it’s the start of something bigger and it’s not going in the right direction.”

Amid the negative comments, some people from overseas Indians communities were supportive of ASOS’s initiative, saying that this is a step toward for western retailers being more inclusive of minority communities and their clothing needs.

Indeed, in has been reported that the Indian communities in the UK represent ??% of the population, and the numbers are still growing.

via Twitter

The Indian lifestyle account @indianinspiration with over 24,000 followers on Instagram voiced out on the company’s initiative in a dedicated post. “Personally I think it’s a good alternative for some simple and cheap dresses. And I like how they only use Indian models!! Sometimes it’s hard to find Indian clothes for weddings if you don’t live in India or UK.” The influencer added an example: “(in Germany) it takes me almost 2 hours to get to an Indian shop. Ordering [from UK or India] online shops takes forever. In this way I can order some clothes for last minutes functions! And I’m sure ASOS won’t replace our wonderful Indian designers and shops!!!”

via Twitter

ASOS later apologized on twitter stating that the collection is not meant to be “bridal” but rather for wedding guests.

via Twitter

Do you think fast fashion should launch ethnic clothing lines? Share your thoughts with us below!

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