Paris Fashion Week is in full swing, and unfortunately, people aren’t talking about Comme des Garçons’ FW20 clothes. Instead, the braided, straight back wigs their runway models were wearing are the hot topic.
Japanese fashion label Comme des Garçons is no stranger to controversy. In 2018, the brand was accused of purposely avoiding working with Black models. Now, they’ve taken a step backwards by putting white models in cornrowed, lace front wigs for their new men’s collection. Relying on racism to generate buzz is not an uncommon tactic in high fashion. In 2018, Prada pulled keychain figurines that resembled Blackface, and within months and Gucci ended up pulling the infamous Black face sweaters off the market as well. Burberry was also admonished in early 2019 for sending a model out with a noose around their neck. Given high fashion’s strained relationship with Black consumers and stylists, racist imagery should be the furthest thing from designers’ minds. But, that’s not the case.
Canadian fashion designer Tani was among the first to call the brand out. “Lmaoooo why?!” she wrote on Twitter.
Comme des Garçons has not provided public comment at this time.
Update (1/20/20): The hairstylist, Julien d’Ys, took to Instagram to share an apology. “My inspiration for the comme des garçons show was Egyptian prince,” he wrote. “…Never was it my intention to hurt or offend anyone , ever. If I did I deeply apologize.” Commes des Garçons also issued an apology to Dazed. “The inspiration for the headpieces for Comme des Garçons menswear FW’20 show was the look of an Egyptian prince. It was never ever our intention to disrespect or hurt anyone – we deeply and sincerely apologise for any offense it has caused.”