FILE PHOTO: A French luxury group Louis Vuitton store is seen in Paris, France, December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The Mexican government has questioned Louis Vuitton’s use of a traditional Mexican pattern in the design of a chair, less than a month after it sent a similar letter to another prominent fashion house.
The culture ministry said in the letter dated July 5 that it was surprised to find one chair in the Dolls by Raw Edges collection by the Paris-based fashion house featured the designs of Mexican artists in Hidalgo.
“We feel obliged to ask, in a respectful manner, if for the elaboration of the chair mentioned you sought and, in this case, worked together with the community and its artists,” the letter said.
The French fashion house owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH.PA) said in a statement: “We are currently in a relationship with artisans of Tenango de Doria in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico, with the perspective of collaborating together to produce this collection.”
It is the second time in less than a month that the Mexican government sent such a letter. In June, it questioned the fashion house founded by Venezuela-born designer Carolina Herrera for “cultural appropriation” of indigenous patterns.
Fashion designers have a history of incorporating indigenous patterns into their works but the extent to which they have done so without acknowledging their origins or fairly compensating communities has become a point of contention.
Mexico’s ruling leftist National Regeneration Movement has been planning legislation to protect indigenous communities from plagiarism and having their work used by others without receiving fair compensation.
Reporting by Diego Ore; Additional reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Paul Simao and Lisa Shumaker