Centuries after Asian dads figured out the simple pleasure that wearing lungis can bring, it seems the Spanish fashion retailer Zara wants in on the style.
The lungi (also known as a longyi, sarong, etc.) is a wide strip of cloth used mainly by men in South and Southeast Asia, East Africa, and the Arab world. The cloth is wrapped around the hip and tied together in the front to form a loose drape.
Some wear the breezy, often-checkered cloth for comfort while doing manual labor in hot climates. Others use upgraded versions as formalwear for weddings. More often than not, lungis are simply the quintessential lazy Saturday afternoon loungewear for Asian dads who just want to watch television and drink their chai in peace.
But some eagle-eyed social media users recently spotted that Zara is selling a “check mini skirt” that bears a curious similarity to the venerable lungi.
The product is described as a “flowing skirt with draped detail in the front.” There’s a “front slit detail” at the hem.
One major difference is that Zara’s model needs to be secured with a zipper in the back, “hidden along the seam.” The average South Asian dad holds his lungi up by sheer force of will.
But the biggest shock for these Twitter users was the product’s price. Lungis can be purchased for less than $1 in India. Zara is selling its “mini skirt” for a cool $89.90.
Some Twitter users noted that the whole thing smacked of corporate cultural appropriation ― when companies take aspects of people’s culture and sell them for inflated prices in other parts of the world, often without crediting the original source. Global brands and celebrities culturally appropriate things all the time.
Others didn’t want to miss out on the chance to poke fun at Zara’s apparent attempt to elevate dad fashion to new heights.
If you need an argument as to why it's important to have BAME people at every level in business and marketing, I give you the lungi-dads-skirt disaster by @ZARA where literally ANY Indian person could've pointed out in two minutes what the problem is with this— Poorna Bell (@poornabell) January 30, 2018
Zara trying to sell you lungi for £70. Here’s mine that cost £2. And I swear this is a natural pose! Pic taken by wifey pic.twitter.com/DCqyWDSX5N— AssedBaig (@AssedBaig) February 4, 2018
Who wore it better? And yes Zara, that's a lungi! pic.twitter.com/65KwCBxIDC— Aaqib Raza Khan (@aaqibrk) January 30, 2018
Some enterprising commenters were interested in trying to turn a profit for themselves.
If you're south Asian, just ask your dad or brother for one. Save £69.99 and buy one from me for less, got loads— Aria (@ms_aria101) January 28, 2018
me: *ties two old dupatta scarves together*— priya (@priya_ebooks) January 30, 2018
me: so this is the authentic original shaman guruji tantric costume. if you bury it with a pinch of turmeric in your garden, you can achieve the seventh chakra of namaste. HURRY WHILE SUPPLIES LAST
In keeping with the lungi skirt by Zara have come up with some fab outfits:— Shilpa Rathnam (@shilparathnam) January 30, 2018
Little Madisaar Dress
HuffPost reached out to Zara for comment about its skirt, but did not immediately hear back.
Meanwhile, the next time you see a South Asian dad stepping out in a lungi and sunglasses to water his plants, don’t be surprised. All things considered, he’s probably got more style than you.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.