The fashion show, like any industry, is riddled with racism, cultural appropriation, erasure of Black people, etc. This is despite the Imans of this world, the Naomi Campbells, the Tyra Banks, etc – just some of the MANY Black people who have made it big in the industry. But despite the big names of the African Diaspora who have graced the fashion world, the lack of representation and at this point, negating the influence of Black people in the fashion world, continues.
Japanese designer Junya Watanabe featured a collection in Paris at the Museum of Immigration last Thursday that showed great influence from African cultures, most notably Masai ringed necklaces. The collection also drew upon the styles and patterns of traditional and modern African fabrics. While the designs may have been African-themed, the designer apparently did not see any utility in possibly featuring a person of African descent in the show. Needless to say, people noticed this and definitely side-eyed Watanabe and his collection. In fact, some people had a hearty laugh and referred to it as the, “Rachel Dolezale Collection.”
Here are a few reactions on Twitter:
We laugh to keep from crying. But maybe that’ll teach a few folks in the fashion industry a lesson or two.