Asian Cultural Appropriation: a search for evidence

IFFTI 2019

Paper 78

Kenneth Wilkinson

Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

Asian Cultural Appropriation: a search for evidence

Through semiological analysis of over 47,200 images, this study endeavoured to obtain evidence of Asian cultural appropriation by Western fashion brands and media organisations.

Findings indicate strongly that very few images can be reliably interpreted as Asian culture-appropriating. Indeed, the number of images containing any Asian elements or models was extremely small relative to the total number of images issued by the organisations whose output was investigated. Despite the increasing importance of Asian markets in the strategies of fashion brands, Asian style elements, motifs, and models remain only modestly represented, and the polysemy and interpretative possibility within the images uncovered by this research was such that most can be read as either culturally appropriating or appreciating.


Kenneth Anthony Wilkinson

Kenneth Anthony Wilkinson is a senior lecturer at Manchester Fashion Institute, with a focus on fashion research and fashion supply chain management. Between 2012-2017 he worked in Manchester Metropolitan University’s Business School focusing on operations management, advertising and marketing communications, international marketing and business operations, and completed his PhD in Managing Risk in Chinese Supply in 2017.