It is arguably impossible to talk about cultural diversity independently of immigration. Immigration is the act of moving from one nation to another with the intention of residing and working there. America is often called the country of immigrants, and this is evident in how easy it is to run into people from every corner of the world in virtually all states in America. There are people from Asia, Africa, South America, and Europe, among other continents, who are well represented in the United States of America. Though to varying degrees, the case is the same when you visit other countries too. There are Americans living in France, Britain, Kenya, and China, either permanently or temporarily.
For many centuries, immigration has been a major driver of demographic change and cultural diversity in many countries around the world. Looking at a number of effects that immigration has had on cultural diversity, our focus will primarily be on fashion. But let us begin on a general note.
Immigration and Cultural Diversity
- Increased Cultural Exchange
- Diverse Food and Cuisine
- Cultural Celebrations
Increased Cultural Exchange
As expected and witnessed over the years, immigrants bring with them their own cultural practices and traditions. In most cases, these foreign traditions enrich the cultures of the host countries. Stay up to date on the newest in the world of Fashion, Arts, Beauty and Lifestyle; Follow FAB on Instagram.
Diverse Food and Cuisine
If you have ever been to America, it is easy to know that one of the most evident ways that immigrant cultures have influenced American culture is through food. For example, Italian dishes such as pizza, pasta, and meatballs are now popular staples in American diets. Also, if you have not been to the US before, you must have heard about tacos in American movies. Through immigration, Mexican dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, and burritos are now widely accepted and available in America. We can say the same with other countries where we can find immigrants.
I once saw media coverage of Igbos in Germany celebrating the New Yam Festival. Most of them were dressed in their cultural attire and spoke in what sounded like various dialects of Igbo. There were Germans and immigrants from other countries in attendance. In America, the Chinese community celebrates a variety of festivals and holidays throughout the year. The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the most popular. There are fireworks, dragon and lion dances, and the exchange of red envelopes containing money during the Chinese New Year festival, which is often celebrated either in January or February.
This is often the outcome of most cases of immigration. There have been cases where immigrants have adopted the language, costumes, practises, and traditions of their host culture. And this always results in a blending of cultures where new cultural practises and traditions emerge. A very clear example is in fashion, where there are many trends inspired by cultural fusion.
What immigration is doing to global fashion trends
Immigration has a significant impact on cultural diversity through fashion. This has led to the emergence of new trends, the promotion of diversity and cultural exchange, and the preservation of cultural traditions. Many immigrants often bring with them their unique clothing styles, customs, and traditions, and this always leads to a blending of different styles and the emergence of new fashion trends that will then reflect the multicultural nature of the society they find themselves in. This has become one of the major inspirations for cultural fusion in fashion.
Cultural fusion in fashion refers to the blending of different styles, aesthetics, and clothing traditions from different cultures to create new and unique fashion trends. There are various factors that can aid cultural fusion in fashion, such as globalisation, immigration, and the increasing accessibility of different cultures through technology and social media. Immigration, among the many factors that have been mentioned here, is our focus. Now, let us look at a few examples of fashion trends inspired by cultural fusion.
The kimono is a Japanese traditional dress that has inspired many western designers to produce dresses that blend the elegance and simplicity of the kimono with western modern designs. Explore a Closer Lens on Diversity in AI-driven Society.
African Print Fabrics
The likes of Duro Olowu come to mind here. Duro Olowu is renowned for using brilliant prints and strong colours, as well as for his eclectic and colourful designs that combine African and European aesthetics. Many of his works in the fashion industry, especially in the UK, are examples of how cultural fusion has influenced fashion. Through the likes of Duro Olowu, African prints such as Ankara and Kente have become popular in western fashion in recent years. Also, in African countries such as Nigeria, men wear pants or jeans trousers on top of Ankara shirts or jackets.
Traditionally worn by the Hmong people of Southeast Asia, Hmong jackets have gained popularity among fashion enthusiasts recently. Designers used the exquisite embroidery and vivid colours of the coats as inspiration to make contemporary, westernised copies.
There are more ways that cultural fusion has influenced fashion than we have mentioned here. Traditional African or Asian patterns have been used in streetwear designs to create a unique and fresh look. Cultural fusion, which can also be a result of immigration among other factors, has had a significant influence on streetwear fashion, resulting in new and unique clothing designs that celebrate cultural diversity and promote cultural exchange.