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Shein clothing line drops embroidered blouses after Mexico calls out cultural appropriation

File image: Mayan embroidered floral blouse
dreamstime.com
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The fast-fashion online clothing seller Shein has dropped an embroidered floral blouse after the Mexican government complained it appropriated designs made for generations by Mayan women on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula.

The bold-colored, heavily embroidered flowers and swirls are normally used by Mayan women on loose-fitting, calf-length white cotton shifts that are ideal for the region's heat.

The version offered by Shein more resembled a traditional blouse.

Shein said Thursday that it dropped the item from its website, saying that “it is not our intent to infringe anyone’s valid intellectual property and it is not our business model to do so."

Mexico’s Culture Department had said Wednesday that it sent a letter to Shein demanding an explanation.

“These designs are handed down from generation to generation, and thus they are product of the collective creativity that belongs to the Maya people,” the department wrote in the letter.

“They represent not only their natural surroundings, but they also form part of their cosmovision, because they are related to the joy of living, they reflect their emotions and feelings, and thus they form part of their identity as Maya people and Mayan culture,” the department said.

“These designs are handed down from generation to generation, and thus they are product of the collective creativity that belongs to the Maya people,” the department wrote in the letter.

“They represent not only their natural surroundings, but they also form part of their cosmovision, because they are related to the joy of living, they reflect their emotions and feelings, and thus they form part of their identity as Maya people and Mayan culture,” the department said.