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.