Dsquared2 under fire for #Dsquaw women's fashion collection
Racist term used to describe Canadian designers' latest collection unveiled this week
Canadian designers Dean and Dan Caten, the brothers behind Dsquared2, unveiled their latest work Monday at Milan Fashion Week, and have since come under fire for their clothes and for dubbing their collection #Dsquaw.
The designers, who claimed the 2015-16 collection was partly inspired by "Canadian Indian tribes" according to their website, have since removed all references to #Dsquaw from their website and their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts.
The term "squaw" comes from the Algonquin words for woman, including ikwe, iskwew, and skwe.
"Its pronunciation was corrupted to 'squaw' and its present negative connotation resulted," said Patricia Ningewance, an Ojibwa language expert.
Hey <a href="https://twitter.com/Dsquared2">@Dsquared2</a>, do you (and everyone using this hashtag) have any idea how offensive you're being with <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/dsquaw?src=hash">#dsquaw</a>? Plus, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CulturalAppropriation?src=hash">#CulturalAppropriation</a>—@MelissaA1763
And the award for most racist collection in a fashion week so far this year goes to <a href="https://twitter.com/Dsquared2">@Dsquared2</a> with <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dsquaw?src=hash">#Dsquaw</a> <a href="http://t.co/fFINBT4paq">pic.twitter.com/fFINBT4paq</a>—@johnniejae
Lisa Charleyboy, owner of Urban Native Girl magazine, calls it: "The glamorization of colonization."
The dress in the collection that really upset Charleyboy was one that looks like a bridal gown, with references that could be indigenous. It was paired with a man's army coat over top.
In another example from the brothers who made their mark in the Toronto fashion scene, a handbag described as an "ethnic makeover" was captioned "Twin Peaks goes eskimeaks" on the company's Instagram feed.
"Eski" is a reference to the term "eskimo," which was a word applied to the Inuit and is no longer used — unless you are a CFL sports team.
The Caten brothers did not return a request for comment.
The brothers won an outstanding achievement award in 2014 from the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards, but a request for comment from the organization was not returned.
<a href="https://twitter.com/MargsCrawf">@MargsCrawf</a> - dsquared2: reaching new lows of appropriation. Insult to injury with use of "eskimeaks" & "dsquaw" <a href="http://t.co/4zF2gNlST0">pic.twitter.com/4zF2gNlST0</a>"—@Qallunette
Inuit ppl had to defend traditional culture with <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sealfies?src=hash">#Sealfies</a> ht but <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dsquared?src=hash">#Dsquared</a> wants to use fur & mimick traditional culture & use slur <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dsquaw?src=hash">#Dsquaw</a>—@xodanix3
Two weeks ago during New York Fashion Week, U.K.-based fashion label KTZ was accused of copying a dress from Bethany Yellowtail, a Northern Cheyenne/Crow designer from Montana. Twitter erupted with support for Yellowtail.
Still no response from <a href="https://twitter.com/ktz_official">@ktz_official</a>. <a href="http://t.co/5ZAzCDalt0">http://t.co/5ZAzCDalt0</a> <a href="http://t.co/QrJL2PDGtR">pic.twitter.com/QrJL2PDGtR</a>—@NativeApprops