Fierce

Another Fashion Week Brings Another Case Of Cultural Appropriation: This Designer Had White Models Wearing Cornrow Wigs

Fashion has a long history of pulling from and appropriating other cultures. Whether it’s in campaigns or on runways, brands and designers have made many missteps over the years —so although disappointing that this still happens in 2020, it’s not big news when each Fashion Week we hear of yet another instance of it. And this Paris Fashion Week was no exception. Japanese brand Comme Des Garcons has come under fire for sending white models wearing cornrow wigs down the runway.

Comme des Garçons has been called out for appropriating a typically black hairstyle.

People were quick to point out the cultural appropriation after the looks —which bore a close resemblance to hairstyles typically worn by black people— hit the runway, and worn by white models. Rather than every model wearing the wigs, a number of the black models who walked in the show sported their own hair.

Julien d’Ys, the hair stylist who has collaborated with designer Rei Kawakubo for many years, explained his influences on Instagram.

Citing Tutankhamen and Ancient Egypt, the hair stylist’s posts drew positive comments from fashion names including Marc Jacobs —another designer who’s also been accused of cultural appropriation after he sent models down the runway wearing dreads.

d’Ys initially chose to dismiss the criticism as “stupide.”

In a comment, in response to the mounting backlash, he posted an image of the boys featured in the show along with an apology. “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). Never was it my intention to hurt or offend anyone, ever. If I did, I deeply apologise.”

However, despite more than 2,000 likes for his post, many of the comments underneath were negative.

Devinpink67 said: “Looks appropriate on the handsome dark skin model, a joke on the others next to and behind it never looks right but stupidity ridiculous braids, cornrows, twist, bantu knots, afro puffs, afros, slicked baby hairs REPEAT ARE B-L-A-C-K CULTURAL RELATED.”

The wigs were part of the company’s men’s autumn and winter collection on show as part of Paris Fashion Week.

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Back in 2018, @commedesgarcons cast their first black models in over 20 years for their FW18 show, following critical comments from netizens who noticed they hadn’t featured a black model since 1994. Last night, the avant-garde Japanese label seemed to have taken a step back with their men’s show, this time putting white models in cornrow wigs. Some black models also sported the wigs, while some wore their own hair. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Vogue Runway called them “odd”, which is a curious statement in itself, considering the stigma and discrimination of natural hair and hairstyles that embrace cultural identity (braids, Bantu knots, twists and locs). It was only in 2015 that Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic said that Zendaya’s dreadlocks at the Oscars made her look like she “smells like patchouli oil or weed”. Suffice it to say, CDG’s decision to appropriate the braided hairstyles for white models is indeed problematic. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the positive side, more states are legislating to ban race-based hair discrimination, following New York and California’s decision in 2019. Dieters, what do you think about the wigs at Comme des Garçons? The look on the model’s faces say it all, don’t you think? • #commedesgarcons #culturalappropriation #pfw #pfwm #pfw20 #cornrows #wig #wigs #caucasity #commepocracy #reikawakubo #adrianjoffe #discrimination #hair #naturalhairstyles #locs #locstyles #blackhair #blackhairstyles #naturallycurly #protectivestyles #goodhair #model #malemodel #avantgarde #cdgconverse #cdgplay #cdg #vogue #dietprada

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Critics on social media called the styling for Friday’s show “offensive”. The infamous Instagram account diet_prada —who has become the unofficial fashion police, shared a post saying that “the avant-garde Japanese label seemed to have taken a step back with their men’s show, this time putting white models in cornrow wigs”.

Another comment under d’Ys’s post suggested: “In future, to avoid facing this heat again when taking inspiration from a culture that is not yours, PLEASE work closely with one from said culture to guide you in doing it properly.

instagram @juliendys

“Your intention might not have been to culturally appropriate Egyptian culture, however your lack of care or awareness in executing it is extremely reckless and hence why it is deemed as cultural appropriation. Education alone avoids these situations, so learn from this and keep it pushing.”

The brand sent an apology to Dazed magazine

“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 offence it has caused.”

Designers often apologize in these situations after the backlash, but in the year 2020 these situations shouldn’t even happen in the first place. 

Despite the countless times brands have been called out for doing so —and the plethora of information available about how using these traditional black hairstyles on white models is appropriation, and why it matters so much— the issue still happens. 

This isn’t the first time Comme des Garcons has been called out for lack of diverse representation. 

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Back in 2018, @commedesgarcons cast their first black models in over 20 years for their FW18 show, following critical comments from netizens who noticed they hadn’t featured a black model since 1994. Last night, the avant-garde Japanese label seemed to have taken a step back with their men’s show, this time putting white models in cornrow wigs. Some black models also sported the wigs, while some wore their own hair. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Vogue Runway called them “odd”, which is a curious statement in itself, considering the stigma and discrimination of natural hair and hairstyles that embrace cultural identity (braids, Bantu knots, twists and locs). It was only in 2015 that Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic said that Zendaya’s dreadlocks at the Oscars made her look like she “smells like patchouli oil or weed”. Suffice it to say, CDG’s decision to appropriate the braided hairstyles for white models is indeed problematic. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the positive side, more states are legislating to ban race-based hair discrimination, following New York and California’s decision in 2019. Dieters, what do you think about the wigs at Comme des Garçons? The look on the model’s faces say it all, don’t you think? • #commedesgarcons #culturalappropriation #pfw #pfwm #pfw20 #cornrows #wig #wigs #caucasity #commepocracy #reikawakubo #adrianjoffe #discrimination #hair #naturalhairstyles #locs #locstyles #blackhair #blackhairstyles #naturallycurly #protectivestyles #goodhair #model #malemodel #avantgarde #cdgconverse #cdgplay #cdg #vogue #dietprada

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In 2018, the Japanese fashion house cast its first Black model in over 20 years. Yup, in 2018.

The last few years have seen many fashion giants accused of cultural appropriation and even racism after a series of high profile scandals. 

Gucci was embroiled in a blackface controversy last year, while Prada faced outrage over a set of racially insensitive figurines in 2018. As a result, many in the industry are taking steps to make their brands more inclusive and representative, with both Gucci and Prada hiring diversity panels in the hopes of avoiding past mistakes.

Comme des Garcons’s appropriation of traditional West African hairstyles contributes to a common trend in the fashion industry, where Black culture is used by non-Black creatives to add an “edge” to design.

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Melania Trump’s Former BFF Calls First Lady’s ‘What About Me?’ Reaction to U.S. Capitol Riots ‘Embarrassing’

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Melania Trump’s Former BFF Calls First Lady’s ‘What About Me?’ Reaction to U.S. Capitol Riots ‘Embarrassing’

Drew Angerer / Staff

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend of Melania Trump and employee of the Trump inauguration celebration, authored a book last fall about her friendship with Melania. The book, which detailed the first lady’s reaction to Trump’s infamous “Access Hollywood” tape and her relationship with the president’s favorite child: Ivanka came hard on the heels of several other damning memoirs concerning the Trumps. Now, the former friend (and adviser to Melania) is at it again.

In response to Melania’s comments on last Wednesday’s U.S. Capitol riots, Winston Wolkoff accused the first lady of being an “enabler” of her husband, Donald Trump.

In a recent interview with CNN, Winston Wolkoff accused Melania of being too little and too late with her response.

Issued five days after the attack on the Capitol, the first lady’s statement was criticized for focusing on issues related to herself rather than the harm done at the Capitol.

“I find it shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me – from people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda,” Melania Trump wrote. “This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain… I implore people to stop the violence, never make assumptions based on the color of a person’s skin, or use differing political ideologies as a basis for aggression and viciousness… We must listen to one another, focus on what unites us, and rise above what divides us.”

Addressing Melania’s reaction, Winston Wolkoff noted that “This isn’t the only complicit event that’s occurred throughout these four years. Melania Trump has a voice and she hasn’t used it. She has a platform, she hasn’t used it. As the First Lady of the United States of America … you have the ability to speak loudly, clearly, and for the rest of Americans. She is not just complicit, she is his enabler. And she’s his biggest cheerleader and unfortunately, she’s done nothing but that.”

When asked by CNN if she thought Melania’s statement was directed at her, Winston Wolkoff replied, “Unfortunately, Brianna, if that’s what’s on her mind, then that’s really an embarrassing thing to be thinking about at this moment in time.”

Last fall, Winston Wolkoff published a tell-all book that claimed to reveal what Melania really thinks about the president of the United States.

The new book reveals that that Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former close friend of Melania recorded the first lady speaking about the president and his children. “Wolkoff takes you into Trump Tower and the White House to tell the funny, thrilling, and heartbreaking story of her intimate friendship with one of the most famous women in the world,” says a preview of the book which is being published by Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books 

The book titled “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with The First Lady” hit shelves on September 1. It has tons of reveals.

Wolkoff says that she feels “stabbed in the back” by Melania.

“I witnessed the transformation of Melania from gold plate to 24-karat gold,” Wolkoff wrote befoe adding “Watching her now, and seeing that only the gold shell remains, I have to wonder if that’s all she ever was, and I was the sucker who bought the fake watch on the street corner.”

When it came to the Hollywood Access Tape, Melania was apparently glowing.

Wolkoff wrote about how Melania reacted in 2016 to the Access Hollywood tape in which her husband could be heard bragging about “grabbing” women by their vaginas.

“She was radiant, she was smiling,” Wolkoff wrote. “It was as if nothing happened… She knows who she married… She knew what she was getting into, and so did he.”

It’s yet to be revealed when and where the alleged recordings of Melania were done but there’s no doubt Trump likely already has a legal team on it.

After all, recording someone without their consent is illegal in many states. However, in New York and some others, only one person taking part in a conversation needs to legally consent to be recorded.

According to the book’s description, Wolkoff (also the former director of special events at Vogue and a producer of Met Galas) “met Melania Knauss in 2003 and had a front-row seat to the transformation of Donald Trump’s then-girlfriend from a rough-cut gem to a precious diamond. As their friendship deepened over lunches at Manhattan hot spots, black-tie parties, and giggle sessions in the penthouse at Trump Tower” the author “watched the newest Mrs. Trump raise her son, Barron, and manage her highly scrutinized marriage.”

Once friends, Wolkoff and Melania experienced a breaking point in their relationship over her handling of the $107 million inauguration. The spending on the inauguration prompted various questions and a federal investigation. In the book, Wolkoff claims that she became Melania’s scapegoat for the decisions of President Trump and his aides.

In response to Wolkoff’s book, a spokeswoman for Melania said “The book is not only full of mistruths and paranoia, it it is based on some imagined need for revenge… Sadly, this is a deeply insecure woman whose need to be relevant defies logic.”

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Trump Supporters Who Stormed The U.S. Capitol Are Learning That Their Actions Have Consequences

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Trump Supporters Who Stormed The U.S. Capitol Are Learning That Their Actions Have Consequences

Robert Nickelsberg / Getty

Yes, it’s true: 2020 set the bar low but 2021 has proven quickly that it will also have no chill.

Last week marked the first week back to WFH offices in the new year for quite a few people. And though so many of us expected that the break would bring a relaxed mood for even just a little bit, Republicans ruined the tone and extremists came out guns blazing. Literally. Last week, Trump supporters infiltrated the U.S. state Capitol in a coup and now many of them are paying the price.

For his part in the insurrection, Donald Trump no longer has access to social media, and those who stormed the capitol well… they’re facing arrests.

Capitol rioters are learning that their actions have consequences.

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According to reports, twenty federal criminal defendants related to the deadly pro-Trump riot at the US Capitol “have been rounded up across the country since the insurrection, with the allegations showing the danger of the mob.”

One of the federal defendants, Jacob Chansley, who stormed the Capitol building while wearing a bearskin headdress, face paint, and horns was arrested last week. According to court documents, he told the FBI he came to Washington “as a part of a group effort, with other ‘patriots’ from Arizona, at the request of the President that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021.”

It’s important to note here while the Capitol riot resulted in the arrests of several people, “the charges filed so far have dealt with issues such as trespassing, disorderly contact, and weapon possession, not terrorism” according to Snopes. “While officials have opened domestic terrorism investigations, the FBI has not made any announcements designating everyone in attendance at the rally as a terrorist.”

This means that despite current trending Twitter hashtags, many of those who took part in the coup are not being kicked off of lights as they attempt to fly back home. As Snopes notes the people in these videos have not been added to no-fly lists.

On Sunday, Jan. 10 a video claimed to show a person discovering that they had been placed on the no-fly list for participating in a pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol went viral. In the video, the man could be heard saying: “This is what they do to us. They kicked me off the plane. They called me a f*cking terrorist, and they f*ckin’ want to ruin my life!”

The video does show a person being kicked off of a flight, but it doesn’t seem that they were added to a “no-fly list” which is managed by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center and prohibits terrorists from boarding commercial aircraft. Instead, it seems the footage shows anti-maskers being escorted off of planes for refusing to wear their masks.

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