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NPR: Native designers work with Paul Frank after powwow flap

Four Native designers collaborated with Paul Frank, a partnership that arose after the company threw a "powwow" theme party last year:

And now we turn to a very different kind of fashion/history story. Last year, clothing and accessories line Paul Frank hosted a powwow and dreamcatcher party that offended a lot of people, not just Native Americans. Bloggers like Adrienne Keene demanded an apology and the company obliged. But Paul Frank Industries didn't stop there. They decided to team up with Native designers to create a line that showcases art from the many Native American cultures.

That line launches today. And joining us to talk more about it is Elie Dekel. He's the president of Saban Brands, that's the parent company of Paul Frank Industries. And also with us, Adrienne Keene, she writes the popular blog "Native Appropriations" and is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Welcome back to both of you.

HEADLEE: Adrienne, take us back to, kind of, the beginning of this story and the moment when you found out about this powwow-themed party. You wrote about it pretty strongly in your blog. What exactly in it was offensive?

KEENE: Well, it was back in September, and it was actually thanks to Jessica Metcalfe, who is another blogger who's worked with us really closely on this collaboration and definitely, we wouldn't be here without her. She got a Google alert for Native American and fashion and found the images from this party from Fashion's Night Out. And I think to us in the Native community, some of the things that stood out immediately were the kind of mishmash of a lot of different tribal cultures being put together under this one, sort of, blanket theme, of quote-unquote, Native American. And Julius, who's the mascot of Paul Frank, was in a headdress, kind of the stereotypical war bonnet.

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Powwow Party Flub Leads To Fashion Line (NPR 8/12)

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