An Antidote to Cultural Appropriation

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Teacher, farmer and indigenous women’s rights activist Seno Tsuha travelled over 40 hours from her home in Nagaland, northeast India, to reach Soho Farmhouse in time for BoF VOICES 2021 because she had an important message to share with the global fashion community.

“When it comes to textiles we use, it’s not just a piece of cloth, it has cultural meaning,” said Tsuha. “When we talk about respect, especially in fashion, it’s very important to understand the local context or historical context and also the social meanings, the cultural meanings attached to the piece of cloth. If you understand that, and if you acknowledge that, that’s where respect comes in.”

Alongside Rebecca Hui, the founder of indigenous arts organisation Roots Studio, Tsuha led a compelling conversation on why cultural inspiration doesn’t always have to be problematic. Together, they suggested a framework for more mindful cross-cultural borrowing rooted in respect, reciprocity and remuneration.

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