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We Spoke to People with Culturally Offensive Outfits at Coachella

They were not apologetic.
All photos by Kwele Serell

Come on, guys. It's 2016. After going over this many, many, many times, we've all decided that wearing someone else's culture as a fashion statement shouldn't be a thing anymore. Some festivals have even gone so far as to ban headdresses.

Despite this, during Coachella this weekend, I saw a whole bunch of people wearing dashikis, bindis, cornrows, and headdresses. I wanted to know why people were still OK with wearing this stuff in the face of so much pushback. Did they feel conflicted about wearing it? Were they just unaware of the controversy? Or did they feel like it was a valid fashion choice—like the girl pictured above, sporting a headdress, who told me she absolutely did not feel weird about her outfit?


Here are some other people I encountered at Coachella who I asked to explain their questionable fashion choices.

VICE: Can you tell me what you have on?
It's a dashiki.

Do you feel weird about wearing it, because you're not black?
No. It's comfortable. I understand why somebody would wear this in the hot weather.

So that's why you're wearing this?
Yeah. Just because it's hot, and it's comfortable. It's artistic, too.

Can you guys tell me what you're wearing?
Girl 1: I'm wearing a very flowy shirt with some brown suede shorts. Very piratey. I'm kind of trying to go for that.
Girl 2: I'm wearing a long peach dress with a really warm sweater that has no sleeves, and some sandals that have really good arch support.
Girl 3: I'm wearing a romper with a bralette and some boots and a belt and like, five necklaces, and a scarf and a pound of glitter.

What about your hairstyles?
Girl 2: We've got some lovely cornrows going. All of us have cornrows.

Do you guys feel weird about wearing cornrows?
Girl 3: A little bit, just because I've never had this and I'm used to having my curly hair. It's out of my comfort zone, but I like it.

What about you?
Girl 2: I don't feel weird, no. I've had cornrows many times in my life. It's good, I like it. Really, I wore it this weekend not so much for any kind of statement but just to keep my hair out of my face and to keep it in one style for the whole weekend.

Related: Should you wear a Native American headdress to Coachella this year? Noisey made a handy flow chart.


What are you wearing today?
I'm wearing Free People. It's like a dress made out of gauze.

Do you have a Bindi on?
Yes, I do.

Do you feel weird about wearing a Bindi?
Honestly, I was a little skeptical at first because, you know, this is somebody else's culture. Projecting that and them not being comfortable with it is kind of strange.

Related: The Basic Bitch's Guide to Coachella

Can you tell me what you're wearing?
I'm wearing a dashiki. It's like my little African feel-good shirt. It's all easy breezy and I can dance real good in it.

Do you feel weird about what you're wearing?
I actually like to take pride in my clothing. Everybody thinks I'm cool. I can dance, and I feel funky in it. I put out good vibes and I feel good.

Tell me what you're wearing today.
Guy: A shirt?
Girl: Awesome clothing.

And why are you wearing this?
Guy: To… stay out of the sun?
Girl: And because it's comfortable.

Do you feel weird wearing what you're wearing at all?
Guy: No.
Girl: No. I feel free.

Follow Kwele Serell on Twitter.