People Are Outraged Over This Native American-Inspired Ad for Dior's Sauvage Cologne
The initiative is being called racist on social media.
Dior is joining the long list of European fashion houses being accused of racism.
On Friday, the fashion house came under fire on social media after they posted a preview for their new Sauvage cologne ad initiative. The short clip features a man in full Native American regalia dancing atop a mountain. A voiceover saying, "We are the land. Dior," plays over the clip.
The text in the accompanying tweet reads: “An authentic journey deep into the Native American soul in a sacred, founding and secular territory."
The man in the video is Canku Thomas One Star, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. He performs the Fancy War Dance in two clips for the new ad initiative.
Seeming to ancticipate backlash, the brand posted additional images of the campaign on Instagram, writing, "With images saturated with colors and emotions, @c1star performs the mesmerizing Fancy War Dance that embodies all the modernity of the Native American culture."
They added that the film was developed "as a close collaboration between the House of Dior and Native American consultants from the 50-year old Indigenous advocacy organization, @americansforindianopportunity in order to respect Indigenous cultures, values and heritage."
However, despite their collaborative efforts, people took issue with the fact that the community was being associated with a cologne called Sauvage, which translates in English to "savage," a word that was once used to dehumanize Native Americans across the country.
"I am not sure putting side to side the Native American culture and the word 'sauvage' is such a good idea," wrote one user on Instagram.
In yet another post, the brand called the campaign, "a love letter to the spirit of a land that should be protected, cultures that should be celebrated and to people that should be honored."
That association was challenged by users who claimed that "celebration" and "selling product" were not synonymous. "But you’re not ‘celebrating’ cultures or people-you’re using them to sell a product," wrote another commenter. "The campaign is insensitive and offensive."
This isn't the first time that a fashion brand has been accused of appropriating Native American culture, either. Pharell Williams came under fire in 2014 for appearing on the cover of Elle UK in a Native American headdress; around the same time, music festival attendees also faced backlash for wearing headdresses as part of their festival costumes and attire.
Dior did not immediately return InStyle's request for comment.