Victoria’s Secret apologises in wake of American Indian outfit faux pas

Victoria’s Secret took a dressing-down from tribal rights campaigners after they blasted the lingerie giant for featuring a Native American headdress on one of their models at their annual fashion show on Wednesday.

Angel Karlie Kloss took to the catwalk in full regalia wearing a floor-length headdress complete with leopard-print underwear, tassles, turquoise jewellery and tassled heels. This has Native American Indians up in arms. According to them, the use of such accessories is traditionally reserved for war chiefs and warriors. Navajo Nation spokesman Erny Zah did not mince words as he put it strongly, “We have gone through the atrocities to survive and ensure our way of life continues. Any mockery, whether it’s Halloween, Victoria’s Secret – they are spitting on us. They are spitting on our culture, and it’s upsetting.”

Charlene Hunt had this to say, “Being a American Indian woman and mother, I am disgusted at the recent picture of your non-native model dressed inappropriately with a war bonnet on her head, not to mention all the other culturally wrong messages this image sends to the world.” After receiving thousands of complaints similar to the one from Charlene Hunt led Victoria’s Secret to issue this statement of apology. “We are sorry that the American Indian headdress replica used in our recent fashion show has upset individuals. We sincerely apologise as we absolutely had no intention to offend anyone. Out of respect, we will not be including the outfit in any broadcast, marketing materials nor in any other way.”

Seems like a heartfelt apology, doesn’t it? But some Native Americans have slammed the apology as being too short and sounding like “an automated response.” Karlie Kloss has also issued an apology on Twitter saying, “I am deeply sorry if what I wore during the VS Show offended anyone. I support VS’s decision to remove the outfit from the broadcast.” The show is scheduled to be broadcast on CBS on December 4th.

Now, you know folks. The use of headdresses and Indian-inspired clothing and accessories have been deemed “derogatory and scandalous” by tribal members. Perhaps, VS should have done some research on “tribal culture” before they featured the headdress in the show, an accessory that was reserved for and earned through an act of compassion or bravery. We’ll end by saying, “ruffled feathers” are hard to soothe once stirred up.

T. J. Mueller