Ralph Lauren accused of plagiarizing indigenous Mexican designs

The Mexican president’s wife on Thursday accused US luxury clothing brand Ralph Lauren of plagiarizing indigenous designs, which she described as appropriating work from the country’s pre-Hispanic cultures.

“Hey Ralph (Lauren): We already realized you really like Mexican designs,” writer and researcher Beatriz Gutierrez said in an Instagram post. “However, by copying these drawings, you are committing plagiarism, which is illegal and immoral.”

The post shows a photo of a coat with colorful indigenous patterns hanging in a store. Label says Ralph Lauren.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters, which found the garment was currently selling on a department store’s website for $360. He has already apologized for the accusations of cultural appropriation in separate incidents.

“I hope you repair the damage done to the original communities who do this work with love and without profit,” Gutierrez added, attributing the designs to the indigenous communities of Contla and Saltillo.

President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador has launched an intense campaign to recover relics of Mexico’s pre-Columbian heritage since taking office in 2018, including filing lawsuits against auction houses in the United States and Europe, and collecting dozens of Mexican antiques.

In July, the Mexican government also asked Chinese fashion retailer Shein to explain its use of indigenous Mayan elements in one of its pieces, prompting it to remove the garment from its website.

The government has filed similar complaints against French Louis Vuitton, Venezuelan designer Carolina Herrera, Spain’s Zara and US retailer Anthopologie.

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