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Black Fashion Student Has Epic Response After Being Accused of ‘Fetishizing Asian Women’ With Swimwear Line

A Black fashion student is under fire for her “Chinoiserie” swimwear line that critics say “fetishizes” Asian women.

NYC-based fashion brand Palais Du Dèsir posted an Instagram video Saturday promoting its new reversible Chinoiserie bikini, which will be available for purchase on Chinese New Year, or Feb. 5. Vanessa Danelle, who attends the Fashion Institute of Technology, is the designer and owner of the brand and says the suit can either be worn as swimwear or lingerie.

Vanessa Danelle

Vanessa Danelle (left) said she was taken aback by the outrage and criticism sparked by her “Chinoiserie” swimwear design. (Images courtesy of Instagram / @palaisdudesir)

The term “Chinoiserie” refers to Chinese motifs and techniques that are applied to Western designs, including art, furniture and architecture. Online critics took issue with Danelle’s Chinese-inspired swim line however, and accused her of cultural appropriation.

Twitter user @taejkang was among those who asked the designer to remove her creation, arguing that the swimsuit “promotes the over sexualization and festishization of Asian women.”

“It was brought to my attention one of your most recent products sparked a bit of controversy,” the user, whose real name is Meena, wrote in a private message to the brand. “As a POC and a company empowering POC, I’m sure you are familiar with how harmful things like racial sexualization and cultural appropriation, can be. I ask that your company remove this product from the market, in respect to Asian culture and women alike.”

Danelle didn’t take too kindly to the assertions and essentially told the concerned user to step off.

“There are no Asian women wearing my clothing, so how does it oversexualize Asian women?” she responded, according to screenshots obtained by NextShark. “It’s just fabrics, and if Black people can’t use Asian fabric, lmk (let me know) where that law is written.”

In her sharp rebuke, Danelle said Meena was “disrespectful” for even asking her to remove her designs from social media and that her swimsuit wasn’t going anywhere.

“I’m not here to please you or any of the Internet trolls who dislike my work,” she continued. “Stop looking for a reason to be offended… I’m not going to entertain stupidity any longer. My post stays, but you can go.”

As of Wednesday, the swimsuit post was still on Instagram but the comment section was disabled.

In an interview with Blavity, Danelle said she’s still shocked by the backlash she received.

“When the controversy began, I initially had no reaction because I couldn’t (and still can’t) understand where it stemmed from,” she told the website. “What I think incited the backlash is simply the sensitivity of our society [and] a tad bit of ignorance.”

She added: “The people who have accused me of ‘racism’ and ‘cultural appropriation’ are those who have misinterpreted the words’ meanings thanks to social media.”

Watch more in the clip below.

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