Marc Jacobs Dreadlock Comments Strike Controversy at New York Fashion Week

By Lexi Russell

Cultural appropriation is a phrase that is becoming more and more prevalent in not only the media, but in everyday conversation.

Lately, there has been controversy over African-American hairstyles that have been previously deemed “ghetto” or “ratchet” but are now “stylish” and “chic” coincidentally, when non-African American people wear them. Some view this issue as invalid because it excludes different people from “rocking” a certain style, but the issue actually lies in not giving the proper credit to the culture in which these styles originated.

Marc Jacobs, one of the most popular designers during New York Fashion Week, decided to have his models walk in the show styled with beehives of dreadlocks. With his cast being mostly Caucasian, this obviously sparked controversy. In response to the comments that stated why his hairstyle choice was problematic, he made a hasty rebuttal. He stated,

“And all who cry “cultural appropriation” or whatever nonsense about any race of skin color wearing their hair in a particular style or manner – funny how you don’t criticize women of color for straightening their hair. I respect and am inspired by people and how they look. I don’t see color 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.”

Although his clothes were supposed to be the main attraction of the show, the hairstyles obviously caught the audience’s and media’s attention. It is often misunderstood that African American women straighten their hair in order to fit in and survive in everyday society, not just for style. Marc Jacobs failed to realize and respect the significance of dreadlocks from a cultural standpoint and made offensive comments that he would soon regret.