Today I was about to write about H&M's new recycling programme, where you bring in used clothing of any brand and, in exchange, you’ll be given $5 off a purchase of $30 or more. Like I said, I WAS going to write about that, until I saw this story from The National Post: "H&M faux feather headdress pulled from shelves after complaints items are offensive to aboriginals."
No joke. H&M, the fast fashion megalodon, was shilling a $15 native American-style feather headdress to its hipster customers. As per the Post, Kim Wheeler, an Ojibwa-Mohawk from Winnipeg, first brought the accessory to the company's attention in a letter that read, "Headdresses are worn by chiefs in some of our communities … It is a symbol of respect and honour and should not be for sale as some sort of cute accessory. It is not honourable nor flattering. People in my community have kind of been fighting that whole 'hipster headdressing' for awhile now."
I've been chasing butterflies trying to find a photo of the offending head piece — could it be this EBay item? — but not a store to become entangled in Urban Outfitter-style scandals, H&M has now removed it from its 61 Canadian stores.
Emily Scarlett, a Toronto-based spokeswoman for the Swedish fashion chain, said the hair pieces were part of the company's summer music festival collection called "H&M Loves Music" and flowered wreaths in honour of the Sixties were also part of the line. She also told the Post: "Music festivals these days are really about experimenting with fashion and dressing your personality. And they're very heavily based on accessories, really accessorizing your look. Of course we never want to offend anybody or come off as insensitive. We're always about being there for our customers."
Kudos to H&M for acting so swiftly, but not everyone is finding the fashion fix that offensive. One commenter wrote, "Enough already, Canadian aboriginals were and are not the only people in history to use feathers for headdresses. I am offended by the fact that H&M caved in here."
This culture clash between fashion and tradition is kind of reminding me of the recent scandal over Selena Gomez wearing bindis, so what do you think Fashion Spotters? Is H&M right to remove the headbands or do you think this is PC madness and people are taking unnecessary offense? Just to add some more fuel to the fire, have you seen what's available on ASOS marketplace lately? Now head south to sound off…
Images via HM.com