January 23, 2020
Japanese fashion brand Comme des Garçons has apologized after backlash greeted their decision to style white models with cornrow wigs. The label’s hairstylist recently defended himself against the cultural appropriation accusations.
Over the weekend, Comme des Garçons showcased their Fall/Winter 2020 menswear collection at the Paris Fashion Week. Unfortunately, something other than their colorful jackets stole the show – and in a negative way, too.
A model walks the runway during the Comme Des Garcons Homme Plus Menswear Fall/Winter 2020-2021 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on Jan. 17, 2020 in France | Photo: Getty Images
The brand’s male models – mostly white – all wore lace front cornrow wigs. According to BBC, there were also a few black models in the show; while some of them wore the wig, others kept their hair.
While some of the comments underneath Julien’s post were supportive, others still berated the hair artist
The look sparked outrage across social media, more so because Comme des Garçons, which was founded by Rei Kawakubo, was previously slammed for lack of diversity and inclusion in their model line-up.
Per MadameNoire, a 2018 analysis revealed that it had been over two decades since the Japanese line included a black model in its women presentations. Now, they decide to style white models with a protective style that is strongly linked to the black culture.
"Comme des garçons put white models in cornrows," wrote a Twitter user who also chipped in a crying emoji. "This after reportedly refusing to work with black models."
"They do it on purpose now to attract attention to their new lines... it's outrage marketing," offered another Twitter user who seemed to think placing wigs on white male models was no mistake for Comme des Garçons.
Julien d’Ys, the hairstylist responsible for the looks, has taken to Instagram with an apology. Julien claimed he never intended to hurt anyone’s feelings and only wanted to pay homage to Egyptian princes.
Alongside a photo of the models, he wrote:
"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 apologize."
Per BBC, Comme des Garçons also reportedly apologized in a statement, repeating Julien’s Egyptian prince explanation. They also stated it was never their intention "to disrespect or hurt anyone" and "deeply" apologized for any offense caused.
Social media users still appear to be divided over the apology. While some of the comments underneath Julien’s post were supportive, others still berated the hair artist and the Japanese fashion brand.
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