Slogans and Fashion

Language faux-pax of the week goes to American pop princess, Katy Perry. The Vivienne Westwood dress she wore to the American Music Awards has stirred up some controversy due to the Chinese characters printed on the front. The mistake was not in the lettering, as the phrase is spelled correctly, but in the meaning behind it. The characters translate as “Green Economy,” an inoffensive term, some might say. However, this has caused uproar in cyberspace, as it is the slogan of the Chinese Communist Party. Hu Jintao, the Chinese President, made use of the phrase in a speech given in Hawaii last week, in which he pledged that he was committed to developing a green economy in China.

We can wildly speculate on the reasons Perry chose this dress; it may be that she simply didn’t fully understand the connotations behind the slogan; it may be that punk designer Westwood fully did understand it, however neither have given any explanation in a statement. Westwood’s Spring/Summer 2012 Gold collection, which the dress belongs to, includes several Chinese inspired pieces.

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