It’s Time for the Fashion Industry to Stop Using ‘Ethnic’ and ‘Tribal’


A quick search on websites like Dresslily, Amazon, and Newchic for elaborately patterned and brightly colored shirts, dresses, and skirts will have customers often finding the word “ethnic” in the product description. Products that involved mixing patterns, multiple colors in mixed patterns, or that don’t have the classic American outdoors or preppy look are often categorized as “ethnic” or “tribal.”

“Tribal” is often used to describe prints inspired by Central and West African cultures, or to refer to patterns and fabrics that were inspired or co-opted from various African tribes throughout the continent, and broadly generalizes multiple African cultures like they are all monolithic.



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