French brand Sézane apologizes for a video in Mexico with a zapotec woman

The Mexican Government and Indigenous Peoples Defense Associations are facing the way the brand seems to have exploited and manipulated the local population at a photo session.

Le Monde with AFP

The French fashion company Sézane apologized following a photo and video session with an elderly lady of a native community that made scandal in Mexico, where the current authorities are particularly said sensitive to respect of indigenous peoples.

“I want to express my profound excuses for my mistakes,” wrote the founder of Sézane, Morgane Sézalory. His message in English has been shared Tuesday on the Instagram account of the NGO Lienzos Extraordinarios, who had already published the polemic video two days earlier . The video shows an elderly indigenous woman, sitting and coated with a green vest, photographed by several young people who speak in French and some of whom do not wear mask.

The woman is then invited by a team member to sketch a few dance steps on the Mary Hopkin Those Were The Days tube. The video was turned on an indeterminate date in the state of Oaxaca (South-West) and the lady belongs to the Zapotèque community, according to sources in Mexico.

Accusations of manipulation and d ‘exploitation

The Paris company has been accused of “manipulating, using and exhibiting people from peoples originating as part of its advertising”, in an official statement to the Ministry of Culture and the National Prevention Council discrimination (conapred).

The National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI) also condemned “the exploitation of the image of indigenous people from the brand Sézane” and launched “a call to trademarks and private companies to cease to exploit people and indigenous and Afro-Mexican communities as a cultural capital “. In its statement, the official body announces a “investigation to act according to the law”.

Isabel Marant already accused of plagiarize

The current government of the left nationalist has in the viewfinder the international fashion brands that plagues, according to the Mexican executive, the reasons for indigenous crafts in their clothing lines. Mexico City denounces a company of “cultural appropriation”. Another French designer, Isabel Marant, had already apologized in November 2020 after being charged with plagiarizing the motives of Purepecha Artisans for one of his coats.

In November 2021, the government had organized meetings between international fashion brands (Isabel Marant, the Spanish Agatha Ruiz of Prada …) and community craftsmen from all over the country.

/Media reports.