Fashion designer

Portuguese state attacks US fashion designer for ‘misappropriation’ of fisherman’s sweater


The Portuguese state is ready to take on American fashion designer Tory Burch for what appears to be an ‘misappropriation’ of Portuguese cultural heritage.

The Culture Ministry said it would “do everything in its power” to ensure that Ms Burch – considered last year as the 88th “most powerful woman in the world” by Forbes magazine – does not not fail in its responsibilities ”.

The fury is over a ‘copy’ of the traditional ‘camisola poveira’ – a sweater typical of the fishing community of Póvoa de Varzim.

Ms. Burch presented the € 695 sweater in a new collection, initially promoting it with inspiration from Mexico Baja.

She has since admitted her mistake. In a tweet yesterday, the 54-year-old designer and CEO said: “We sincerely apologize to the Portuguese people – it has come to our attention that we have wrongly attributed a spring 2021 sweater with Baja inspiration. It was a misstep that we did not refer to the beautiful fisherman’s sweaters represented by the town of Póvoa de Varzim. We correct this error immediately and note and honor that this sweater was inspired by Portuguese traditions. We want to further recognize this important tradition and are working with the Municipality of Póvoa de Varzim on how best to support local artisans. Tory Burch is all about inclusiveness and celebrating the diversity of cultures, and we will strive to do better in the future. Please take a moment to visit: www.cm-pvarzim.pt”.

But Tory Burch’s inspiration doesn’t seem to have been just with the beautiful fisherman’s sweaters.

There is the small affair of his high-end tableware which seems to have been “inspired” by Raphael Bordallo Pinheiro, a Portuguese artist of the 19th century “well known around the world”, adds a net surfer dryly, tweeting “How about this conservative “.

For now, according to reports, the Portuguese state “through the Ministry of Culture has announced that it intends to take legal measures to fight against” the misappropriation “of the camisola poveira”.

A statement from the Ministry of Culture indicates that Minister Graça Fonseca “took the initiative to request the identification of the judicial and extrajudicial means available to the Portuguese State to defend the camisola poveira as Portuguese cultural heritage” and to ensure that Ms. Burch “corrects the injustice committed (by compensating the Poveira community).

The government is thus “doing everything it can to enhance, protect, preserve and safeguard Portuguese intangible heritage,” the statement said.

The municipality of Póvoa de Varzim is also involved in what could end as a lawsuit in New York, Lusa explains.

Whatever happens later, the fisherman’s sweaters from Póvoa de Varzim got the best publicity they could hope for this week.

As for the tableware, it doesn’t appear to have been disputed on the source of its inspiration – despite numerous complaints from those who saw the similarities.

According to TVI 24 Today, Tory Burch encountered similar problems in 2017 when he limited a traditional Romanian coat which he attributed to “African inspiration”. This error was later corrected after a tirade on social media.

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