This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com.
Without fail, Marc Jacobs is the NYFW show that, for better or worse, no one can stop talking about. This year, he drew just as much attention for his forward-thinking designs as he did for the hair look that accompanied them. Many took offense to the creative director’s choice to feature technicolor dreadlocks, especially when applied to a predominately white cast of women — and especially when Jacobs and his hairstylist Guido Palau credited everyone from Harajuku girls to Lana Wachowski, without also acknowledging their roots in Rasta culture — and cried cultural appropriation.
Though at first, Marc was defensive about his aesthetic choice, the designer has since issued a formal apology on his Instagram account, claiming he now understands the point his fans were trying to make.
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Last week, fans and critics used the comments of his Instagram to express their displeasure with the colorful locks loos. The designer attempted to clap back in the comment section, writing, “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.”
While many were on his side, pointing out that this is hardly the first time fashion has dabbled with putting faux-locks on white models and that there are far more important and urgent racial issues at hand, others reacted even more strongly to Jacobs’ “I don’t see color” argument.
When Jacobs suggested that black women appropriate white women’s hairstyles by straightening their hair, he made the mistake of conflating appropriation with assimilation, while claiming in the same breath that he’s colorblind — which, as evidenced by his comments, is simply not true (and is essentially impossible).
…and I thank you for expressing your feelings. I apologize for the lack of sensitivity unintentionally expressed by my brevity. I wholeheartedly believe in freedom of speech and freedom to express oneself though art, clothes, words, hair, music…EVERYTHING. Of course I do “see” color but I DO NOT discriminate. THAT IS A FACT! Please continue to express your feelings freely but do it kindly. Nothing is gained from spreading hate by name calling and bullying.
After a few days to reflect, Jacobs issued a formal apology on his Instagram account on Sunday. In the caption of a picture that says “I’ve read all your comments…” he writes, “…and I thank you for expressing your feelings. I apologize for the lack of sensitivity unintentionally expressed by my brevity. I wholeheartedly believe in freedom of speech and freedom to express oneself though art, clothes, words, hair, music…EVERYTHING. Of course I do ‘see’ color but I DO NOT discriminate. THAT IS A FACT! Please continue to express your feelings freely but do it kindly. Nothing is gained from spreading hate by name calling and bullying.“
We hear you, Marc, but next season maybe just play it safe and stick to something like your models’ natural hair texture all around.