Marc Jacobs Under Fire For Misappropriating Dreadlocks In NYFW Show
When it comes to culture appropriation, the fashion industry takes another "L."
It looks like Marc Jacobs' unveiling of his spring/summer 2017 collection during the final days of New York Fashion Week didn't go too well.
The designer was met with controversy on Thursday (Sept. 15) after models like Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Adriana Lima, Irina Shayk, Jourdan Dunn, and Karlie Kloss were seen on the runway with multicolored dreadlocks. Speaking with The Cut, hair stylist Guido Palau denied the look was inspired by Rastafarian culture. "No, not at all," he said. "I don’t really think about that. I take inspiration from every culture. Style comes from clashing things. It’s always been there — if you’re creative if you make food, music, and fashion, whatever, you’re inspired by everything. It’s not homogeneous. Different cultures mix all the time. You see it on the street. People don’t dress head-to-toe in just one way.”
Instead, Palau says the inspiration was drawn from The Matrix director Lana Wachowski. The legendary director has worn her signature colorful dreadlock style since announcing herself as a trans woman. “He was like, ‘I want to see this shade and this shade and this shade!’ he said about Jacobs. "His coloration and detailing was incredible. He would say, ‘Could you do something in a more khaki shade?’ Every coloration was so important."
He also threw in another dose of black erasure by citing the Harajuku girls and anime as inspiration. "That was the starting point, then we looked at movements like rave culture, acid house and club culture, travelers, Boy George and Marilyn," he told Refinery29.
Palau's decision to etch out the literal roots of the hairstyle upset many who believed the designer could have at least hired black models who wore dreadlocks or a person of color to create the look. Instead, Jena Counts who sells dyed hair from Florida on Etsy was asked to assist the designer. Counts, who is white, hand-dyed the 12,500 pieces of wool for the show.
Jacobs himself has been quiet about the backlash but Twitter wasn't.
Ironically, the move is very similar to the designer's spring 2015 show where white models wore Bantu knots allegedly inspired by musician Björk. Again, there was no mention of the styles connection to African-American women. History has a way of repeating itself, doesn't it?