Fashion designer accused of 'racism' after sending models down catwalk wearing cornrow wigs

Fashion designer accused of 'racism' after sending models down catwalk wearing cornrow wigs

Luxury fashion house, Comme des Garçons, has been accused of cultural appropriation after sending models down the runway in wigs designed to look like cornrows - a traditional black hairstyle - during its men's autumn/winter 2020 show.

The Japanese brand's Paris Fashion Week show, which was held on Friday, saw male models - many of whom were white - sporting what appeared to be ill-fitting cornrow wigs, as they modelled clothes from the upcoming collection.

This Dolce and Gabbana advertisement was also slammed for "cultural appropriation" 

The show was quickly denounced on social media as being "racist", with industry watchdog, Diet Prada, leading the furore with an Instagram post which stated that the move was a "step back" and that the brand's "decision to appropriate the braided hairstyles for white models is indeed problematic".

"I’m outraged and disgusted by your models’ choice of hairstyle knowing where it originated from. Where is the real representation?!?," commented one Instagram user, while model Adwoa Aboah wrote, "Are we surprised?"

"Too busy laughing to be offended. This is a mess," added Aja Barber.

Three back models took part in the show, with one wearing the same style of wig. The other two models wore their hair naturally.

Hairstylist, Julien d'Ys, who styled the wigs for the collection, took to Instagram to share a sketch which appeared to indicate that the wigs were inspired by Egyptian pharaoh hair.

"Dear all, my inspiration for the comme des garçons show was Egyptian prince A Look i found truly beautiful and inspirational. A look that was an hommage [sic]," he later clarified on the platform. "Never was it my intention to hurt or offend anyone , ever.
If I did I deeply apologize."

While he received messages of support from Daphne Guinness, Carine Roitfeld and Steven Klein, many took to the comments to question why Egyptian models were not used for the show.

Yesterday, Comme des Garçons issued an apology to Dazed, writing;

"The inspiration for the headpieces for Comme des Garçons menswear FW’20 show was the look of an Egyptian prince. It was never ever our intention to disrespect or hurt anyone – we deeply and sincerely apologise for any offense it has caused."