Fashion icon Michael Kors is currently in the hot seat with social media users thanks to a certain garment seen in the designer's NYFW show last Wednesday in New York City. The garment in question is a black and gray Mexican-style sweater worn by a male runway model. The problem is that this sweater is identical in nearly every way to sweaters sold in Mexican markets for $5 to $10.
According to Daily Mail, a male and a female model walked the runway wearing the sweaters during Kors' Spring 2019 fashion show and Kors is listing the price of the sweaters at $500. Social media users fired shots at Kors, accusing the designer of cultural appropriation and theft of the design which is native to Mexico and parts of South America.
The history of the sweater's popularization in North America can be traced back to the 60's when surfers from California brought them back home after traveling to Mexico to hang ten.
As of this writing, Kors has not officially commented on the accusations. He has said that his Spring 2019 collection has been inspired by "travel and global getaways" in order to "spread joy."
Unfortunately for Kors, his recent fashion show seems to have only spread anger and frustration among social media users.
Santiago Perez Grovas, a photographer and architect from Mexico City, posted a selfie in which he is wearing an identical sweater to that of the Kors runway model. Grovas said that he purchased the sweater for a mere fraction of the cost of the similar Kors sweater.
"New Michael Kors collection that probably costs thousands of [Mexican] pesos. A sweater that I bought two years ago for $180.00 [$10] at the Coyoacan market," Grovas captioned the side by side photo that he posted to Facebook on Thursday. "For this and many other reason[s] I hate the fashion industry."
Another person who was outraged by Kors' fashion show is Marlen Trevino, a nutrition coach who hails from Monterrey, Mexico. She posted a photo of herself to Twitter in a brightly colored sweater very similar to the sweater that the female model wore in Kors' show.
"Here wearing a @MichaelKors [sweater]," Trevino wrote, the post being translated from Spanish to English. "What an innovation of designs! #Teotihuacan #Mexico #Plagiarism"
"So Michael Kors is just gonna start making thousands of dollars out of something that Mexican artists have been doing for years and years," a Twitter user called @mazetriaIs wrote.
Kors might want to re-think this addition to his Spring 2019 line and perhaps a public-issued apology wouldn't hurt either if the designer is truly interested in spreading joy.