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Free People slammed for misappropriation with its festival collection

Meagan Morris is an entertainment and lifestyle journalist living in New York City. In addition to SheKnows, Morris contributes to many publications including The New York Times, Yahoo! News, PopEater, NBC New York and Spinner. Follow he...

Free People is wrongly commercializing Native American culture with its new collection

Coachella is almost here and attendees are busy readying their shift dresses, fringed vests, jumpsuits and wide-brimmed hats.

Companies are also cashing in on the Coachella trend with collections made specifically for festivals. Most of these collections — like the one from British retailer Boohoo — feature pretty standard items.

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And then there's Free People's festival collection.

The retailer is now promoting Kaleidoscope Skies, its "hippie-inspired" festival collection that is pissing off a bunch of people (and for good reason). The collection does feature some pretty trippy looks that are reminiscent of Woodstock — perfect for Coachella — but a large, large portion of the pieces are appropriated from Native American culture. Think things like rain sticks, headdresses, feathered earrings and pieces with tribal prints.

Free People is wrongly commercializing Native American culture with its new collection
Image: Free People

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You'd think the brains behind Free People would understand why something listed as "tribal" would be offensive to Native Americans, but apparently not, especially since this isn't the first time the company has been called out for it. URBN — the parent company for brands like Urban Outfitters and Free People — was criticized in 2012 for appropriating native culture.

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“To be used in this kind of fashion, I’m very unhappy with it,” Ben Shelly, Navajo Nation president, told The New York Times at the time.

If that wasn't enough, the prices are ridiculous — like $237 for this Fire of Fires Crown and $267 for Desert Fringe Sneakers.

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