SHANGHAI — Around 50 Chinese students took to the streets of Paris to protest a Dior skirt that online spectators claim resembles a traditional Chinese garment from the Ming dynasty.

The protest took place in front of Dior’s store on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées on Saturday, according to social-media accounts. 

The protesters, who dressed in Hanfu clothing, demanded Dior apologize for a design that the brand labeled as a “hallmark Dior silhouette” and attribute the design inspiration to Mamian Skirt, or Horse Face Skirt, which was popular during the Ming dynasty. They also wanted Dior to stop selling the skirt at Dior’s Paris retail stores.

According to footage online, many students at the demonstration were dressed in Mamian Skirts or various Hanfu ensembles, a style of dress from before the Qing dynasty. Weibo accounts identified the participants as students.

They held signs like “Dior, stop cultural appropriation” and “This is a traditional Chinese dress” at the scene. A protest crasher, holding up a poster that said “Dress > human rights,” was then attacked by Chinese students, according to images online. 

The protest lasted around 10 minutes before it was shut down by police. According to Chinese media outlets, the rally was livestreamed on Weibo and Wechat, garnering more than 500,000 views.

The hashtag “Chinese students protest Dior cultural appropriation in France” has already received more than 51.1 million clicks on Weibo. 

According to local media, similar protests will be held in New York and London.

The Chinese social media storm was triggered by a $3,800 black pleated skirt from the Dior women’s fall 2022 collection. The collection was shown to fashion press in December and paraded on the runway in Seoul in April, the same time it became available in stores.

According to the show notes of Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director for women’s collections at Dior, the collection aimed to pay tribute to Catherine, Christian Dior’s sister, and was inspired by uniforms, specifically school uniforms.

According to Weibo, the student leaders of the protest issued a notice saying that the Mamian skirt is at risk of “not belonging to us anymore.” 

Dior has yet to comment on the incident.


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