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Um, Lose the Locs, Marc Jacobs

New York Fashion Week is one of the most exciting times of the year for fashion lovers. There are so many great pieces and celebrities to gawk over. In the midst of getting my fashion fix, I came across some troubling images of Marc Jacobs models during his Spring 2017 women’s fashion show, wearing multi-colored, wool extensions that resembled, you guessed it…dreadlocs.

As I looked at these high-fashion models, dressed in Jacob’s latest garments, with edgy make-up looks and a head full of pastel-colored textures, many thoughts rushed through my head. The first: “What was he thinking?” It’s apparent that fashion designers often get inspiration from abstract sources, but this one completely stumped me.

About eight months ago on Jacobs’ Instagram page, he revealed the star of his Spring/Summer 2016 campaign, Lana Wachowski, a member of the Wachowski sibling duo and directors of The Matrix trilogies, who wore pastel locks. After doing some online searching, Guido Pastel, hairstylist for the show, came across Dreadlocks by Jena, run by Jena Count, an online business owner. On Counts Etsy site, you can find Custom Wool Extensions on sale for $200.

I am a complete advocate for artistic expression as it keeps the fashion industry fresh, but let’s face it, some things just can’t be duplicated. White women walking down a high-fashion runway, wearing expensive, couture dresses and colored dreads, just seems off.  For years, dreadlocs have been frowned upon in professional places and have constantly been labeled as dirty and unacceptable. Let’s rewind back to the Zendaya “faux locs” fiasco during the Oscars last year. She was criticized and even accused of smelling like patchouli oil and marijuana.

Now that Jacobs decides to feature these colorful wool dreads in his fashion show, I wonder if this will spark the same reaction. Doesn’t seem likely.  In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Guido said, “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,” Guido told 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.”

At this point, I don’t know what to call this, a double standard, a case of cultural appropriation or a combination of both. Twitter does not seem to supportive of Jacobs’ hairstyle choice. Check out some Tweets below.

For his part, Jacobs posted, then deleted, the following flippant response on his Instagram.  Props to Refinery 29 for getting a ‘grab of it first.

What are your thoughts? Is it okay for fashion designer’s to use cultural practices as inspiration? Or is this a clear case of appropriation? Weigh in below!