Earlier this year, massive fans of rock and rap legends got the absolute treat of seeing their idols get defaced by the super-imposed images of Kylie and Kendall Jenner’s Instagram photos. Apparently being “huge fans” of these musical icons, the sisters thought the idea would have been the peachiest act of tribute to the artists – and, as a surprise to no one, their concept crashed, burned, and got slaughtered on all platforms of social media.
Since then, the Jenner sisters have released a public apology regarding the shirts, explained they never meant disrespect in any way, and raging netizens moved on with their lives…
Until this week. As if needing to fulfill a quota of one public upset a month, the two have found themselves amidst yet another scandal with their “Kendall + Kylie” brand, this time regarding the issue of “cultural appropriation”.
With a new, black-and-white plaid shirt on their online store for the wonderful price of $145 USD – an act of atrocity on its own – Kendall and Kylie were absolutely slammed by users on Instagram upon releasing a photo of a faceless woman modelling the new tee.
In the (now deleted) photo, the model was clearly seen wearing the shirt undone, except for the topmost button – pairing the item with a large pair of hoop earrings, a lace bustier, and a loose pair of black slacks. People were quick to notice that the emulated style was a blatant rip-off of Latina “chola culture”, a distinct sub-culture of Mexican-American girls who have grown up in a poverty-stricken environment of gangs, violence, and hip-hop.
“Disrespectful,” wrote a disgusted Instagram user. Another chimed in with a more aggressive, “LMFAO WHAT ARE YOU TRYING [TO] SCAM OUTTA BROWN CULTURE,” – alongside a number of other angry replies, eventually prompting the sisters to take down the scandalous image.
Of course, in true internet fashion, Instagrammers known as @theshaderoom managed to snag a screen shot of this rattling faux pas, re-posting it on the website for the rest of the Internet’s fuming pleasure.
On the subject of blindly donning the stereotypical “chola” aesthetic, without background knowledge of its political and historical context, Latina model Hellabreezy offered her thoughts:
“It’s easy for young privileged girls to want to have the look, but when they are done dressing up in their ‘chola costume,’ they don’t have to go back home to the hood and deal with discrimination, violence, and poverty.”
Called “culture vultures” for commercialising a culture that was clearly not their own, outraged Twitter user Ashley Sherengo helped in viralising the incident, re-tweeting the picture with the caption: “Will you ever come up with your own ideas?”
Sherengo also elaborates to lifestyle and entertainment website, Refinery29: “…it’s definitely irritating to see these girls making money off a culture they know absolutely nothing about. When we —Latinas and Xicanas— dress in flannels and big pants, we get profiled and frowned upon. But when they do it, it’s ‘fashion’.
Even make-up artist Kat Von D publicly shared her disdain for the sisters’ business choices, simply posting a tweet that read, “Damn posers”.
While all trace of the controversial image is wiped clean from the Kylie + Kendall Instagram – fans of the brand can still get a hold of the infamous shirt online. It’s not a problematic fashion piece on its own – but with that $145 price tag, we’re not sure why you’d want to.