Comme des Garçons apologise for giving white models braids during Paris Fashion Week

20 January 2020, 14:20 | Updated: 20 January 2020, 14:35

A model presents a creation by Comme Des Garçons, during the men's Fall/Winter 2020/2021 collection
A model presents a creation by Comme Des Garçons, during the men's Fall/Winter 2020/2021 collection. Picture: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Image
Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

"This is so tone deaf and ignorant."

Another day, another high fashion brand is being accused of cultural appropriation. This time it's Comme des Garçons that's landed themselves in hot water after white models were sent down the runway in ill-fitted braided wigs.

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Comme des Garçons' models wore the wigs for the Japanese brand's AW 2020/2021 menswear collection at Paris Fashion Week. The lace wigs, which came in different colours, featured cornrow-style braids. Not all the models wore the wigs, though, some kept their own hair.

As to be expected, the hairstyling caused a lot of backlash.

Comme des Garçons has now apologised for the wigs and insisted that the inspiration behind them was an "Egyptian prince".

"The inspiration for the headpieces for Comme des Garçons menswear FW’20 show was the look of an Egyptian prince," they said in a statement to Dazed. "It was never ever our intention to disrespect or hurt anyone – we deeply and sincerely apologise for any offense it has caused."

On Instagram on the day of the show, hairstylist Julien d'Ys (who styled the wigs) explained that his influences had been Tutankhamun and Ancient Egypt. Julien initially didn't care about the backlash and, according to Dazed, said it was "stupide" in a comment. However, he soon backtracked.

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"My inspiration for the Comme des Garçons show was Egyptian prince a look I found truly beautiful and inspirational. A look that was an hommage. Never was it my intention to hurt or offend anyone, ever. If I did, I deeply apologise [sic]."

This wouldn't be the first time Comme des Garçons has faced criticism, though. In 2018, the fashion house was called out for lacking diversity in their mainline women's collection runway shows. Apparently, the last time Comme des Garçons used a black female model was in their AW runway show in 1994.