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  • Writer's pictureJordan Nicole

People of color set the blueprint for beauty and fashion. White people take the credit.

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Due to the racism that has consistently defined the rules that exist within our society, many of the beauty and fashion standards created to define a norm have stemmed from white people.

These beauty standards were not only governed by white people but designed in favor of white people. This forced people of color to go to great lengths to assimilate into white culture.

The beauty and fashion standards that white people perpetuate are constantly changing. In recent years, there has been a shift. There is more acceptance of features and styles that are associated with people of color. The problem with this is that those who created these standards are not being acknowledged as the originators.

Here are six beauty and fashion ideas from POC cultures that white people have tried to make their own:

Obsession with larger lips

One of the most common examples of a POC beauty standard that white people have adopted into their own beauty standards is larger lips.

Larger lips have always been a beauty characteristic connected to Black people. It wasn’t until white celebrities began receiving lip fillers that this feature was suddenly celebrated as beautiful and something to be desired.

These larger lips were celebrated on white people, yet were used as a way to dehumanize Black women. These features were described in ways that were meant to paint Black people in an animalistic and savage way.

The fox-eye trend

A characteristic beauty feature of Asian people has always been the monolid. This was in contrast to the almond eyes to which were thought to be the most ideal eye shape.

Within the past year, it has become an internet trend to attempt to replicate the more upturned eye shape on eyes that are more almond-shaped. This trend is mostly being completed by white people who do not recognize that the shape they are replicating stems from the Asian community. Instead, they use non-Asian models such as Bella Hadid or Kendall Jenner as their reference. They have completely ignored the intense harassment and ridicule that many Asian people have received for the eye shape that they have suddenly decided is acceptable.


The bindi is a colored dot that is placed between the eyebrows and forehead, with origins in Hinduism and South Asian culture. It is a beauty practice that is often colonized by non-South Asian people and turned into a “trend” that is styled for music festivals like Coachella.

Many non-South Asian people who chose to style bindis see them only as a fashion accessory and not something that has meaning. For non-South Asians, this cultural practice became almost like a costume, worn only on the days of the festival.

Bindis can have important cultural value and meaning, and if you choose to wear one you should understand its meaning.

Sneaker culture

“Sneaker culture,” meaning the collection and obsession with owning various sneakers, is something that is newer to popular culture.

Sneaker culture includes obsessing over more retro sneaker styles that gained popularity during the ʼ80s or ʼ90s, but also collecting new sneaker styles and colors.

Although this is something newer to pop culture, sneaker culture originated within the Black community, and Black people have been loving and collecting sneakers for decades.

In the ʼ80s, rap group Run-DMC became known for their song “My Adidas,” talking about their love of the shoe. In 1985, Black basketball player Michael Jordan released the Air Jordan sneakers with Nike, and the Black community quickly hopped on the release.

Waist beads

Waist beads have recently emerged as a trend on TikTok but actually have origins within African communities. The origins of waist beads can be traced back to Egypt but were also worn by the Nigerian Yoruba tribe and Ghanaian women.

The beads involve spiritualization and health. Both the beads’ use and placement can have various meanings and values.

This is yet another trend viewed by those who are not knowledgeable of the history and significance as simply a fashion statement when they can truly have a lot of personal and cultural meaning. If you choose to buy waist beads, learn about their significance so you are culturally appreciating, not appropriating.


Headscarves are worn by many people of color but very commonly associated with Muslim women — usually people of color from various ethnicities, nationalities and backgrounds.

The headscarves worn by these women are called hijabs.

Despite the fact that normal women who wear hijabs are often afraid of the treatment they might receive, fashion designers have decided that these garments are considered high fashion. These designers often do not cast people who actually wear these garments in fashion shows and campaigns and allow white models to appropriate.

In 2018, Gucci received backlash for having white models wearing clothing pieces that were very similar to hijabs, turbans and niqabs. This sparked a conversation about how white people pick and choose from various cultures and don’t realize that what they are doing takes away from the pain of those who wear these garments every day.

So many elements of current pop culture have been taken and adapted to fit white standards. It is imperative that we all make ourselves aware of the history of these things and acknowledge the origins of many of the “trends” we take part in.

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