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Fendi is facing criticism and accusations of cultural appropriation online after releasing a cashmere keffiyeh scarf. The Italian luxury brand's $890 USD scarf has drawn backlash on social media for its resemblance to the black and white checkered keffiyeh worn by Palestinian nationalists.
While many Middle Easterners wear the headdress to protect their head and necks from the sun, the keffiyeh has also become a political symbol of Palestinian identity and resistance.
The chequered print of the keffiyeh has been appropriated by western fashion before — but Fendi's latest product has particularly struck a nerve with social media audiences following the surge in violent incidents between Palestine and Israel.
— Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) June 2, 2021
"Stop trying to appropriate, mangle and mutate the Kaffiyeh," one user tweeted. "Symbols matter. Especially for oppressed people."
Fendi and Louis Vuitton capitalising the oppression of Palestninans by appropriating Keffiyeh. Another day in the wretched, capitalist world of high fashion.
— شريفة⁷ (@callmeweird59) June 2, 2021
"Hell no! Can't believe that you've stolen a symbol of resistance and selling it at that price. Outrageous," someone added.
Fendi isn't the only brand to draw criticism for their pricey take on the traditional keffiyeh. On Wednesday, fashion watchdog site, Diet Prada, publicly called out Louis Vuitton for retailing a $705 keffiyeh scarf.
Luxury brands love to be neutral on issues that matter to us, but then replicate our culture for their own gain. @Fendi @LouisVuitton this is cultural appropriation. Clearly you didn’t care to understand the symbolism behind the keffiyeh. You just wanted to profit off of it ❌ pic.twitter.com/IkMx9gk6HN
— Sofia Haq 💃🏻 (@sofia__haq) June 2, 2021
"So [Louis Vuitton Moët Hennesy's] stance on politics is “neutral,” but they’re still making a $705 logo-emblazoned keffiyeh, which is a traditional Arab headdress that’s become a symbol of Palestinian nationalism," Diet Prada captioned an Instagram post to their more than 2.7 million followers.
Many followers were quick to point out that the brand used blue and white for the keffiyeh, the same colours as the Israeli flag.
Other than Louis Vuitton, Fendi is also culturally appropriating the keffiyeh and is currently selling it for €620 on their site ....smh pic.twitter.com/suReFR7u6h
— Fay (@epicfaylure) June 2, 2021
"They could have designed a regular scarf, I’m not sure why they felt the need to specifically take from someone else’s culture?" one follower wrote. "It’s not even an innocent mistake or coincidence; they know where it comes from."
Although neither Louis Vuitton or Fendi have yet to issue a statement, the keffiyeh can no longer be found on the Louis Vuitton website.