søndag 25. juli 2021

Is it cultural appropriation to wear another country's national dress when when you travel?

Stepping into Pandora Cheng's qipao rental store in central Hong Kong is like stepping back in time. A brown leather Chesterfield sofa sits in one corner beside a gramophone, opposite row-upon-row of tailor-made qipaos, the traditional high-neck Chinese dress.

Cheng offers tourists in Hong Kong "dress-up experiences" that use fashion as a way to explore culture. She was inspired by geisha makeovers in Japan and other cultural dress activities she has taken part in on her travels. "I think if tourists wear the qipao like us, then they can go into the culture, (explore) the old Hong Kong style," she says, adding, "It's an experience of knowing a culture deeply."

But for many tourists traveling abroad, the idea of "dressing up" in another culture's clothing can raise questions about cultural appropriation -- and make them reluctant to take part. So, what are the rules?