In the final week of NYFW designer Marc Jacobs finds himself in the middle of a controversy.
No were not talking about his new clothing line. But the hair.
That's right HAIR.
During his raver-inspired Spring '17 runway show, models (majority white) wore yarn pastel colored deadlocks as a part of his collection.
Onlookers were quick to go on the attack calling it cultural appropriation for Jacobs not only choosing to style his models in dreadlocks but barely including ANY models of color in his show.
Marc Jacobs was quick to respond via Instagram to spectators…
There are those on the other side of the color spectrum (like Jacobs) that just don’t understand the ‘hair issue’ in the black community and call into question black women straightening their hair and why there isn't any backlash towards that.
Let’s be clear. The main reasoning black women in America turn to relaxing/straightening is to meet “Eurocentric standards of beauty” which they are told need to be achieved to even be deemed acceptable in any social setting.
When you are constantly subjected to criticism, discriminated against (aside from skin color) and denied employment opportunities for wearing hair in its natural state, and then seeing designers take these styles and ‘reinvent’ them is like a slap in the face to what you were once told is no good and unacceptable.
With the new Federal Appeals Court (September 15, 2016) ruling that says it’s OK to discriminate/deny hire to those with a traditionally black hairstyle like dreadlocks, the frustration of not being mentioned as inspiration for a hairstyle that is now being banned from us, makes it easier to see the frustration towards Jacobs.
As Essence magazine explains, “Here is the problem: there’s a thin line between creativity and cultural appropriation. Celebrating another culture becomes problematic when the origin itself isn’t properly credited. That line was blatantly crossed when Jacobs’ lead stylist Guido failed to mention one person of color while explaining the inspiration behind the look. Again, not one.”
Guido told Harper’s Bazaar that the look was inspired by “certain types of cultures, like rave culture, club culture, acid house, Boy George and Marilyn.”
Women and men in the black culture have been wearing dreadlocks for as long as anyone can remember. Like the Rastafarian's or the many black people that choose to wear this look because it makes coily hair easier to manage.
When you have white people taking credit/ using those things that black people get criticized for and it suddenly becomes a trend is when this issue becomes a little brighter.
Just last year at The Oscars Red Carpet, actress Zendaya received backlash from entertainment reporter Julianna Ransick saying that they [dreads] make her look like she "smells like patchouli oil. Or, weed.
So how do dreads suddenly go from being subjected to ridicule to being the next ‘it’ thing?
Dear Mr. Jacobs,
When you don't have an understanding of a culture and the ridicules that it endures. It's better to first grasp/attempt to understand the issue or take a minute to actually listen.