outfit | poetic justice


Photos by Cassandra Chen

On the drive to Sun City from Johannesburg, you usually have to stop at this one flea market on the way. It’s very hard to miss, and it’s definitely a huge tourist trap. For a long stretch of road, there’s African clothing markets, trinket shops, restaurants and fruit stalls on the side of the road, and when I went a few weeks ago with my family and saw the beaded Zulu necklaces, I was glad to finally find a place where I could get one!

I was so excited about getting the Zulu necklace, but then I got to thinking about whether or not I actually should, because it’s not actually my culture. Cultural appropriation is always a tricky topic of discussion when it comes to fashion, because I may have a Zulu friend who is okay with me wearing the necklace or an Indian friend who is cool with me donning a Bindi, yet on principle, it’s still not okay.

I love fashion and cultures, so cultural appropriation is a really huge dilemma for me, but here is the thought process that I usually go through when I’m struggling to discern whether or not I should wear something.

Do not wear something if:

  • You don’t know the culture from where the item comes.
  • You don’t know why they wear it. For example, some bindis are used for aesthetic purposes, or to signify the sixth chakra/third eye, but others can also signify if a woman is married or not.
  • You’re wearing it ironically or to mock that culture.
  • You’re wearing it to pretend to be from that culture to fit in. For example, if you’re a white girl who has only black friends who wear braids, you don’t have to get braids too just so you can fit in.
  • You’re going to pretend that you started a ‘trend’. Someone else’s culture isn’t a trend that’s ‘in’ for the moment.
  • Someone from that culture tells you it’s offensive. If they tell you to take it off because it offends them and their religion/culture, you should probably listen, especially if you were only wearing it for the sake of fashion.

So, if you genuinely appreciate a culture, know that by wearing it, you’re not offending people of that culture, and you look good in it ๐Ÿ˜‰ – go for it! It’s amazing that in South Africa, we can be so multicultural and diverse. I love seeing people wear ankara and geles from my home country of Nigeria. Let’s appreciate & not appropriate! ๐Ÿ˜€

For this post, I used my BBB tutorial for help. I had my Janet Jackson in Poetic Justiceย going on, if maybe just a liiiittle too high.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 3.35.03 PM

necklace: flea market | blazer: woolworths | dress: koton in istanbul | bag: yeye oge | socks: cotton on | shoes: converse | ring: gift




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  1. Refiloe Mokgele
    January 26, 2015 / 12:42 pm

    Hey I love the fact that you’ve linked your blog to soundcloud! How?? If I may ask ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Foyin Og
      January 26, 2015 / 6:04 pm

      Hey there! It’s not actually linked – I just embed a Soundcloud song in each post ๐Ÿ™‚