Hey, this is Cora, and I made the post. I think that’s a really good question, and I did wrestle with whether or not to share the collection.
The tipping point for me in deciding to go ahead and post the images was asking about why they chose to use the word ‘Geisha.’ Most of the lingerie collections that I’ve seen that use the word ‘geisha’ invoke a number of tired, racist Asian stereotypes. This collection does not; the silhouettes are all classic Fleur of England and the print itself is based on a photograph from Fleur’s own backyard.
When I asked Suzanne, the sales and communications manager behind Fleur of England, why chose the word geisha, she said because of it’s literal meaning of artist or artisan, and because they wanted a word to express the bespoke, artisan nature of both the print and the collection.
For me, the lack of racist imagery plus the explanation provided (i.e. it’s not “Asian-inspired”) was enough to post the collection. I didn’t see using a direct translation of a Japanese word as a de-facto instance of cultural appropriation in this case.
That said, do I wish the collection had a different title? Yes. Am I 100% confident that the way I’m seeing this is the right way? No. Do I think it’s worth discussing and am I glad you asked? Absolutely. I’m definitely open to hearing other thoughts, as I don’t think this is a clear-cut example of cultural appropriation (unlike say, Victoria’s Secret’s openly racist “geisha” costume from a couple of years back).