First of all, what is cultural appropriation?
“Cultural appropriation originally refers to the use of tangible or intangible elements of one culture by members of another culture, including the acquisition of artifacts from other cultures by Western museums. Here is the first definition that we find on the internet (Wikipedia) when we write "cultural appropriation".
Let's focus on what Antilope offers, that is to say: clothes and accessories.
What purpose ?
The intention is, basically, the first point to focus on. Do you decide to wear a garment in wax fabrics out of appreciation and love of the pattern, its colors and what it represents? Or do you use it to despise or mock a culture? Is it a cultural element to which you bring respect, or do you bring it to disguise yourself? This first question is essential and already allows you to know how to situate yourself.
Drink from the source
Then, let's take a step back. Displaying elements of a culture is also making its economy work. Where and from whom you buy matters. In fact, when you decide to wear a loincloth, it is essential to position yourself regarding the choice of supply. Thus, when you buy from Antilope, you operate a Belgian-Togolese business. While if you supply yourself, among other things, on a fast fashion website whose origin (and quality) are very often dubious, you are in no way benefiting the culture that you benefit from. This can sometimes, in some cases, kill the economy of a culture. By supplying directly to the source or from the people concerned, you make an economy work thanks to your appreciation.
Your voice matters
One element that should not be overlooked is knowledge and your impact. When you wear an item from another culture, do not hesitate to find out about the history, the meaning, the codes returned by what you are wearing. It's always better to be informed, but all the more so when you don't know the origin at all. In addition, genuinely interesting stories can be hidden behind a pattern, a cut, a way of wearing a garment or a piece of jewelry, etc. However, knowing is good, but sharing is even better. Do not hesitate to mention the origin of what you wear, its meaning and its history if you know them, who are the creators, which hands are behind your garment. Giving power goes a lot through the voice; don't neglect yours.
In fact, what does it give?
And if we put all this in situation? Let's imagine, you come to Antilope, you decide to buy a piece of clothing or an accessory because you like it, because you are sensitive to what it gives off. This is called cultural appreciation.
However, if you decide to enter Antilope to find a carnival costume, be aware that the intention is not good and you are clearly committing cultural appropriation. Or, you want to treat yourself to a wax blouse, but you don't want to run a concerned business. For this, you order on the latest fashionable fast fashion site whose production does not respect the conditions of its workers and whose origin is probably linked to the low quality of the fabrics. You do not bring culture to life, do not participate in its expansion and do not constitute any support. From this act, you supply a parallel economy which kills the original one. Again, this is about cultural appropriation.
Sometimes it is better to consume in more limited quantities, but of better quality and to support a more local, more committed and directly concerned trade.
You are all welcome!
Antilope is delighted to open its shop to everyone, regardless of your skin color, your gender, your morphology. As long as you feel good with what you're wearing, that's the main thing. What matters is your good will, your respect and your love for wax!