Victoria's prompt made me think of a lot of things in regards to clothing. It is fascinating to me that there are countries where the people from that country want tourists to buy and wear their cultural wear, but I think it possibly comes down to a relation of oppression. I think when it's inappropriate and disrespectful for anyone to wear clothing that is a culture piece is when it is worn by someone who is part of a culture that has oppressed the culture who's garment they're wearing. I think context also plays a huge role in this regard.
An example that comes to mind is of my brother and sister-in-law and nieces that live in Thailand. They are missionaries in the country and have worn things that are Thai. This example doesn't hit me as disrespectful or inappropriate because they live in that country. That is home to them. And while America has a history of oppressing most non-white cultures in some way or another, I am not aware of a strong affiliation of oppression between the US and Thailand. Missionaries that travel to Kenya and wear the cultural clothing is likely another similar example.
I think what's important to consider is what do the people of that country or culture feel? If I want to wear a kimono, a hijab, a sombrero, or Native American headdress of some kind, I need to do the work of asking people from these traditions and cultures what they think and feel. It is their perspective that matters most. I also need to ask myself, why do I want to wear this? Do I want to appreciate the culture of this clothing item or am I doing it because I'm egocentric and want attention? Fashion isn't pure or without shame. Much of the fashion industry is driven by capitalistic and oppressive companies that source their materials inhumanely, pay their lowest workers unreasonably low wages, and pollute the planet without a second thought but to fill their bank accounts and buy another home in a foreign country.
On a separate, but related note, I think what is most important when it comes to fashion/clothing is buying less often, buying second-hand, and/or buying from companies with practices that are ethical, quality, environmentally friendly, and socially responsible. Here is a blog about ethically buying clothing and products that fight the aforementioned kinds of corporations, as well as one of my favorite ethical brands:
I am also a big advocate of buying locally made products to stimulate immediate and local economy of people who are not greedy billionaires, but rather everyday people just like you and me. Secondhand stores also fall into a similar realm here, as they are usually locally owned (not Goodwill), and helping to reduce the filling of landfills by clothing.
Here are a couple comics about how I feel about unethical corporations that make clothing that is overpriced and ends up in landfills:
And to finish, here's a preview of a Netflix Documentary that everyone should watch and respond by changing the way they consume clothing. IF NOTHING ELSE FROM READING MY BLOG, PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO:
And here is a video about clothing ending up in landfills: