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Breaking the Eurocentric Barrier: The Need for Inclusive Luxury in Fashion

Updated: Jan 21

Audio Version

In any earnest discourse on fashion’s inclusivity, we must address the equal opportunities for all designers. Fashion’s gatekeepers, an elite cadre, occasionally permit others to ascend. This industry resembles an elitist club, with luxury its jealously guarded jewel.

One cannot ignore the Eurocentric nature of luxury. This bias permeates architecture, automotive design, fashion, and the arts, rooted in the historical might of European superpowers that once colonized much of the globe. Our focus narrows to Latin America and the Caribbean, the so-called “New World.”

This “New World” was colonized to bolster nations like England, Spain, and France. Indigenous cultures were suppressed, their religions and values replaced by those of the colonizers. This influence lingers, with global media perpetuating European ideals as the zenith of excellence.

Now sovereign, nations of the “New World” continue on the foundations laid by colonial rulers. While some native practices endured, much of their evolution involved adopting European customs.

Consider Mexico and its neighbors, home to more ancient Mayan temples than Egypt has pyramids. Post-independence, architectural preferences still leaned towards Spanish styles, overshadowing these indigenous marvels. These temples stand as silent testaments to a people once the sole architects of their identity.

In the automotive world, European brands like Mercedes Benz and Audi symbolize high status. American manufacturers, despite comparable quality, are often relegated to lower market tiers.

A cursory online search reveals luxury fashion’s European dominance American labels follow suit. European origin seems to confer an inherent market advantage, challenging even America’s strong fashion presence. What, then, are the prospects for designers from developing nations, with unique perspectives and aesthetics?

In summary, when you’ve wielded global power and imposed your customs, you set the rules, standard and control the narrative. Today’s global trade and industries are built on this legacy. True inclusivity in fashion, art, entertainment and beyond should offer every player an equal, democratic chance at success.

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