Kylie and Kendall Jenner Are Accused of Appropriating Chola Culture

Kylie and Kendall Jenner Are Accused of Appropriating Chola Culture

Even beauty guru Kat Von D chimed in on this controversy. 

By Chantel Morel

It looks like Kylie and Kendall Jenner have caught themselves in yet another cultural appropriation controversy, and this time it has to do with their namesake clothing line Kendall + Kylie.

The brand recently posted an image on Instagram of a model wearing a black and white plaid collar shirt with only the top two buttons fastened, which exposed a lace bustier underneath paired with relaxed fit black pants, and hoop earrings. And fans couldn't help but notice that the look was identical to a style that stems from Chola culture, and went off on Twitter.

According to Refinery29, the thread began with Twitter user @lipstickittty who shared a screenshot of the post captioned, “@KendallJenner @KylieJenner will you ever come up with your own ideas? #culturevultures.” The post has since gained over 2,000 retweets. “I first saw the image on the explore page and I immediately noticed something was wrong when I saw that it was posted on the @kendalandkylie page,” Ashley Sherengo, the owner of the Twitter account, told Refinery29.

Even beauty guru Kat Von D, who identifies with the Chola lifestyle, and even has a “Mi Vida Loca” tattoo on her back (an homage to the 1994 film on Chicana lifestyle), chimed in.

Some even shared insightful articles like “The Folk Feminist Struggle Behind the Chola Fashion Trend," on Chola culture for those who don’t understand why the Jenner post is an issue. “The chola identity was conceived by a culture that dealt with gang warfare, violence, and poverty on top of conservative gender roles. The clothes these women wore were more than a fashion statement—they were signifiers of their struggle and hard-won identity," writes Barbera Calderón-Douglass.

For decades, the Chola style has been mass marketed through runway shows, music videos, and film. Or even worse has been made fun of through Halloween costumes. But those who misuse this look fail to appreciate the depths from which it comes, and its rich history, as recognized in a Guardian article pointed out by Teen Vogue. "Historically, the term was used by European colonizers to refer to full or mixed indigenous populations in South and Central America, but in the 1960s was reclaimed in the US by working-class Mexican Americans and the Chicano Power movement as a way to flip and empower a term that had historically been used to denigrate us," Julianne Escobedo Shepherd writes in the article. Making this style much more than just a "cute outfit."

The post has since been removed from the brand's Instagram page. However, neither sister has yet to speak out on the matter.


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