NYT Accuses Ivanka Of Cultural Appropriation In India


Amber Athey White House Correspondent
Font Size:

The New York Times critiqued Ivanka Trump’s clothing choices for her trip to India and accused her of culturally appropriating Indian fashion.

NYT noted that Ivanka’s clothing featured Indian-inspired patterns, fabrics, and cuts, that appeared to be a nod to the local culture. However, they wondered if the first daughter went too far in trying to woo the Indian people.

“Where is the line between culturally appropriate dress and cultural appropriation?” Vanessa Friedman asked. “It was hard to look at Ivanka Trump’s wardrobe during her India trip this week and not ask the question.”

In Hyderabad, Ivanka wore a red dress with mother-of-pearl embroidery–a respectful nod to the city’s historical nickname, “City of Pearls.”

“Get it?!” Friedman wrote with more than a touch of snark.

Friedman admitted that “Indian style watchers were generally positive about” a Tory Burch dinner dress that Ivanka wore on Tuesday, but made sure to pepper in some negative comments from larger Indian media outlets.

“If Ivanka’s clothes are to be an acknowledgment of an ancient and rich culture like ours, especially as she arrives as a dignitary, then the sartorial ‘tribute’ should be authentic in its intention,” Bandana Tewari, the editor at large of Vogue India, said. “We would rather see her wear a hand-woven sari made in our country or a handmade gown made in her own country. But to hybridize the two, in an era of unfiltered diversity, is a superfluous nod to half-acceptance.”

“While on the one hand it is nice to see someone in the Trump administration make an effort to leverage the possibilities of tactical dress, the interpretation was largely through the lens of the outsider looking in,” Friedman whined.

During the trip, Ivanka also wore a red floral-print dress by a Bombay-born designer, a cream-and-black lace dress by an Indonesian designer, and a traditional kurta dress.

Ivanka was heralded as an “Indian Barbie doll” by India Today, but Friedman jabbed, “Whether that was actually the last impression Ms. Trump wanted to leave on a trip that was supposed to be about ‘women first’ is not entirely clear.”

Follow Amber on Twitter