When Did the Dupatta Become “European”?

South Asian netizens are both laughing and fuming over a major TikTok misstep.

Dupatta Illo v005
TikTok screenshot (Graphics by Shruti Ashok for The Juggernaut)

Ayesha Le Breton


May 30, 2024


6 min

In late May, an employee at Bipty, a fashion rental community, posted a now-deleted video on TikTok, flitting through Pinterest images of white women in floor to mid-length floral dresses and semi-sheer scarves draped across their chest. In some photos, pants completed the look. “The vibe, the aura, what is it?” said the employee. “It’s very European, it’s very classy.” 

Within hours, confusion, frustration, and laughter from South Asians flooded the comments and “For You” pages. “The vibe is Desi, the aura is South Asian — the shawl, that’s a dupatta, that’s a chunni,” clapped back Meghana, an Indian American TikToker. 

Folks, we have some troubling news: the dupatta is now the latest victim of the West claiming subcontinental fashion as its own.

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