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Online store accused of cultural appropriation for selling salwar kameez as vintage dress

Salwar kameez is a traditional dress worn by South Asian women (Photo: ARIF ALI/AFP/Getty Images)

AN Essex-based store has been accused of cultural appropriation for selling salwar kameez, a traditional dress worn by women in South Asia, as vintage clothing., which started out as a university sideline business in 2015, courted controversy after it displayed a range of salwar kameez tops as vintage Boho dresses, Metro reported on Wednesday (11).

The outfit did not come with a dupatta or salwar (trousers), as is required.

“vintage Boho dress????? girl u got on a damn kameez with no salwar,” pointed out one online user.

Another wrote: “Culture appropriation at it’s best. Isn’t capitalism great?”

All the dresses have been taken down from the website since the backlash.

Speaking to Metro, a spokesperson said: “ purchased a bulk mix of vintage/secondhand dresses from a supplier who had labelled them as “boho”.

“They were then listed on the website under this name. It was brought to the customer service team’s attention that not all of these secondhand dresses were actually boho dresses.

“Some were, in fact, south Asian salwar kameezes. All of these items were then removed from our website. We apologise for any offence caused. We are updating our stock checking system as a result.”

Thrifted believes in circular fashion, meaning they want their clothes to have three or more lives before they are recycled.

“We believe the wardrobes of the future will be made up of both – new sustainable clothing and the best in vintage fashion,” the brand states in its webpage.

They have suppliers in Asia, the Americas and Europe, who help them source vintage clothes.