Ralph Lauren apologizes after being accused of plagiarizing Native Mexican imagery

Accusé de plagiat de motifs indigènes mexicains, Ralph Lauren présente ses excuses

American fashion giant Ralph Lauren has apologized after being accused of plagiarizing domestic designs for one of his clothes.

“We are surprised to learn that this product is on sale,” the company responded Friday, saying it sought to ban its marketing after discovering its existence months ago.

“We are conducting an urgent audit to determine how this material landed on the sales floor (…) and ensure it is removed immediately,” Ralph Lauren said.

“We’re very sorry this happened, and as always, we’re open to a conversation about how we can improve,” the company added.

Beatriz Gutierrez, head of the Mexican Commission for Cultural Affairs and wife of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, took to her Instagram account Thursday to arrest Ralph Lauren.

“Listen Ralph: We noticed that you really like Mexican patterns (…) However, by copying these patterns you are plagiarizing, and you know that plagiarism is illegal and immoral,” he wrote. Gutierrez, the historian, accompanied his message with a picture of a colorful jacket clearly marked “Ralph Lauren.”

The patterns used in the American brand’s clothing correspond to the maps of the Cantla (central Mexico) and Saltillo (northern) communities.

Mexican copyright law requires all works considered popular or artisanal to be respected, and commercial use requires the express recognition of the indigenous community that originates them.

In 2021, Mexico had already filed complaints against fashion companies such as Chinese company Sheen, Spanish company Inditex, and American companies Anthropologie and Badoval for using Mexican designs on their clothing.

In 2020, Mexico also filed a complaint against French fashion designer Isabelle Marant, who later apologized to the government and an indigenous community in Michoacán (West).

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