Marc Jacobs is facing some backlash online after his Spring 2017 runway show, during which he sent his entire cast of models—including Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid—down the runway wearing colorful dreadlocks.
Guido Palau, the hairstylist for show, explained to Harper's Bazaar that the dreads were made of wool and said the look was inspired by a Marc Jacobs campaign that starred Lana Wachowski, the Matrix director who sports a similar hairstyle. He also cited Harajuku and rave culture as influences. When asked by The Cut if Rasta culture was an inspiration, he replied "No, not at all."
While dreadlocks have been associated with other cultures, the hairstyle is also strongly rooted in African American history and identity, something that appears to have been ignored from Marc Jacobs' show.
"The interesting thing about Marc is how he takes something so street and so raw, and because of the coloration of the hair and the makeup, it becomes a total look," Palau told Harper's Bazaar. "Something that we've bypassed on the street and not really looked at, or seen a million times, he makes us look at it again in a much more sophisticated and fashionable way."
Actress Amandla Stenberg said it best when speaking on fashion's obsession with cornrows: "Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated, but is deemed as high fashion, cool, or funny when the privileged take it for themselves."
Twitter users called out the designer for cultural appropriation following the show. Jacobs himself has yet to comment on the controversy.