When Marc Jacobs debuted his new colourful collection yesterday at New York fashion week, everyone was talking about the hair. The dreadlocks, crafted from yards of hand-dyed wool, was worn largely by white models, resulting in Jacobs being charged with cultural appropriation.
While the look is modern and relevant, his style aim missed the mark. On Twitter, many called out the designer for his lack of insight and the double standards of wearing this look on white women.
"An unknown black man/woman has dreads it is assumed they smoke and or are unprofessional. Marc Jacobs has a model with dreads its boho chic," wrote one user. Instead of acknowledging it's Rastafarian roots, hair stylist Guido Palau cited "‘80s, raver culture, Boy George, and Harajuku" as inspiration to The Cut. Understandably, many were angry.
Now, Jacobs has responded to the controversy on Instagram and his comments may have just added more fuel to the fire.
"And all who cry "cultural appropriation" or whatever nonsense about any race of skin colour wearing their hair in a particular style or manner - funny how you don’t criticise women of colour for straightening their hair. I respect and am inspired by people and how they look. I don’t see colour or race- I see people. I’m sorry to read that so many people are so narrow minded…Love is the answer. Appreciation of all and inspiration from anywhere is a beautiful thing. Think about it.”
While it's great that Jacobs has responded to people's concerns, and actually reads the comments, his statement shows that he has kind of missed the point. As a designer so known for understanding the interests of youth culture (as the rest of his runway show demonstrated), it's unfortunate that he has so misread this situation.
This story was first published on ELLE.com.au.