Both conclusions are probably true, but so is the fact that there are systemic contributors unique to fashion.
Such as, for example, that the current pace of fashion and the pressure to get New Stuff Out Now mean that there are fewer safety checks and less time to consider the potential ramifications of choices around the world.
Also the truth that design has always borrowed the symbols of other cultures and taken them out of context, considering them largely as decoration as opposed to a representation of a narrative — though when they do get into a narrative, it is one the brand itself is creating, as opposed to the story already told. That one, of course, actually belongs to another group, racial or religious, and is already resonant with meaning.
“While designers liked to play with clichés in the past, cultural stereotypes are caricatures,” said Serge Carreira, a lecturer on fashion and luxury at the Sciences Po institute in Paris. “They may be considered, nowadays, as marks of disdain. For decades, brands and designer messages were isolated and never challenged.”
Yet such borrowing often happens with a kind of blithe thoughtlessness, a creative entitlement. If it feeds the imagination, that’s all the justification the designer needs! You hear it again and again: They didn’t mean anything bad by it. That’s probably true. It also doesn’t obviate the pain the products cause, or the problem.
As Burak Cakmak, the dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons School of Design, said, “While more and more companies are repositioning themselves as a value-driven business, most are not looking deep enough to understand historical and cultural contexts of their design and marketing choices to assess what might be offensive, inappropriate or simply without permission.”