Comme des Garçons apologise for giving white models braids during Paris Fashion Week
20 January 2020, 14:20 | Updated: 20 January 2020, 14:35
"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.
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.
The only thing worse than these cornrows........... the clothes. We are not rocking comme des garçons in 2020 beloved pic.twitter.com/bsPwVvGVbE— Ira Madison III (@ira) January 18, 2020
You know comme des garçons planned that shit right? You know they did that off the notion that this would indeed make the internet drag them?— D'ana del barrio (@itscovl) January 18, 2020
They followed the bad press is still press formula and y’all are still shocked? pic.twitter.com/hLUPwF8nsY
lmaoooo why?! y’all this is from comme des garcons pfw fall 2020 men’s collection.... pic.twitter.com/8HtItlIIWg— TANI (@TANIRICHES) January 17, 2020
that's not right and i want explanations for the responsable of this (comme des garçons homme plus fall 2020) pic.twitter.com/8IiSDeE9ZE— michèle lamy (@Ialamichmich) January 17, 2020
Comme des Garçons wilding, throw the whole brand away pic.twitter.com/SPH9c4BH3i— v4vendetta (@valerydodon) January 17, 2020
I love comme des garçons and have so much respect for rei kawakubo’s creative ability, but this is so tone deaf and ignorant. it’s unbelievable that why something is wrong still needs to be explained to so many fashion people almost eternally. I’m tired. https://t.co/6d06ZQnPHc— Scott Shapiro (@scottshapiro_) January 18, 2020
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.
"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.