MAC Vibe Tribe Cultural Appropriation Controversy

MAC has unveiled its latest collection for summer 2016, MAC Vibe Tribe,

Lose control in lips painted reckless shades of red and coral, or a flash of gold. Let your eyes escape reality in teal, cobalt, mandarin and charcoal, as free-spirited nails glisten in succulent tangerine and the perfect, buttery nude. Join the tribe. Feel the vibe.

MAC Vibe Tribe

Whilst this collections shades look beautiful for summer there has been an outcry at the tribal stereotype portrayed, with the collections artwork making a clear reference towards native american culture.

MAC Vibe Tribe

The ad campaign has caused many to call MAC out for cultural appropriation.  Cultural appropriation has been explained by Anna Akbari, PhD., as,

“a way of using another culture in a way that delights our imagination, while making them the Other, and stripping them of their identity.”

MAC Vibe Tribe

Dr. Keene tells us,

“cultural appropriation interferes with a community’s ability to define its own identity. When outsiders are using aspects of culture however they see fit, the meaning behind them is slowly diluted and lost.”

MAC Vibe Tribe

And finally Akil Houston, PhD., defines cultural appropriation as,

“It is the use of another culture or cultural symbols to support or justify one’s need for self-expression or sense of freedom. Quite simply, it is theft.”

MAC Vibe Tribe

MAC cosmetics throughout the launch have made no reference to what has been assumed as the inspiration behind the collection. There has been no credit or homage to the “tribes” it has referenced, with MAC in fact stating that,

“The collection, including the visuals, product lineup, and naming, is inspired by art, outdoor music festivals, and the colours of the desert. The collection has absolutely no connection to, nor was it inspired by, the Native American cultures.”

This denial of exploitation comes when names in the collection include Adobe Brick, Call of the Canyon, Arrowhead and Wild Horses. For many this is a cringe reaction from a usually inclusive beauty brand, ignoring their involvement when accused of appropriating symbols connected to indigenous people.

Cultural appropriate in the beauty and fashion industry is common, and the public outcry has shown backlash and disappointed toward these brands.

MAC Vibe Tribe

I would love to know your views on this, will you be purchasing the MAC Vibe tribe collection? Do you believe it is simply cultural insensitivity or another example of cultural appropriation?

The MAC Vibe Tribe launch will be in May 2016 at MAC Stores and counters.

MAC Vibe Tribe

The MAC Vibe Tribe Summer 2016 Collection includes –

  • Vibe Tribe Lipstick shades – Tanarama (frost), Arrowhead (matte), Painted Sunset (amplified), Pure Vanity (lustre) and Hot Chocolate (satin).
  • Patentpolish Lip Pencil shades – Tumbleweed, Teen Dream, Caravamp, Desert Evening (online exclusive) and Rio Grande Romance.
  • Powder Blush shades – Modern Mandarin (satin), Adobe Brick (satin) (online exclusive) and Painted Canyon (satin).
  • Cream Colour Base shade – Yellow Topaz
  • Call of the Canyon Eye Shadow Palette 4 shade names – Call of the Canyon (veluxe pearl), Fool’s Gold (frost), Summer Sun (frost) and Thunderbolt (lustre).
  • Wild Horses Eye Shadow Palette 4 shade names – Wild Horses Brule (satin), Charcoal Brown (matte), Wild Horses (satin) and Blue Mesa (satin).
  • Technakhol Eye Liner shades – Snowed In, Broque and Take the Plunge.
  • Bronzing Powder / Matte Bronze Bare Shouldered Bronze shades – Refined Golden (online exclusive) and Firebrush.
  • M·A·C Studio Sculpt Defining Bronzing Powder shades – Delphic and Golden Rinse.
  • Gleamtones Powder shade – Dunes at Dusk
  • M·A·C Studio Nail Lacquer shades – Blazing Hot (cream) and Skin (cream).
  • Brushes – 125 Split Fibre Dense Face, 127 Split Fibre Face and 228/226 Double Ended
  • Makeup Bag available in 2 different designs.

MAC Vibe Tribe

Don’t miss out on today’s earlier post, the exciting news that Anastasia Beverly Hills have announced a new Stick Foundation launch!



  1. 2016/04/26 / 15:10

    Hmm I have to be honest – I have ummed and ahhed over whether I really believe cultural appropriation is a problem…I can’t help but feel this day and age is trying really hard to be offended by every little thing possible. I understand the argument and I can understand where the offence lies, but also I think we should be able to celebrate other cultures and borrow from one another as long as we understand and appreciate the cultural history of that borrowing. Globalisation makes it really easy to be influenced from other cultures and I think that’s a great thing.

    That said…I think it’s genuinely appalling of MAC to state that they took no inspiration of Native American cultures when they so clearly have done. Very bad and insensitive move on their part.

    I won’t be buying any of it – but only because I don’t need any of it…ha ha.

    Katie. xx La Coco Noire

  2. 2016/04/26 / 21:18

    interesting. Not inspired by Native Americans huh? It looks like a pretty collection but I am trying to not buy any makeup for a bit.

  3. makeupjunkie
    2016/04/28 / 21:16

    It’s a little crazy that MAC claims this collection is based on “art” without realizing that those traditional Southwestern geometric palettes come from Navajo designs. In the same breath they admit it’s based on artwork and yet deny any associations with the culture producing the art… That’s pretty much as close to the definition of “appropriation” as you can get. I wish that MAC had committed to a Native American collection and worked in partnership with Native American artists and models to create something that would honour and celebrate the culture instead of just ripping it off.

    • makeupjunkie
      2016/04/28 / 21:17

      * geometric patterns (not palettes)

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