At Paris Fashion Week earlier today, fashion brand Comme des Garçons came under fire for their AW 2020 show, sending models, mostly white, down the runway wearing cornrowed, lace front wigs, according to Essence.
Upon the release of photos from the collection, many online called out the brand. "I feel exactly how these wigs look: tired, disinterested in being here," tweeted style and beauty blogger Tasha James. Another twitter user shared a thought about the reasoning behind this, writing, "they do it on purpose now to attract attention to their new lines... it's outrage marketing."
This is not the first time that Comme des Garçons has been called out for being non-inclusive. In February of 2018, writer Martin Lerme of Heroine wrote the article, "Why Won’t Comme des Garçons Hire Black Models?" Upon researching the brand's past collections, he concluded: "After reviewing the 54 runway shows (excluding the as yet unavailable Fall 1991 season) on Vogue, which includes a total of 2,533 looks, I was only able to identify 5 black models—a total of 32 appearances comprising 1.26 percent of the total runway exits—over the entire covered time span."
The fashion industry has failed Black people time and time again, routinely appropriating and capitalizing off of Black culture, including the use of traditionally black hairstyles on non-Black models. It is impossible that a major fashion label in 2020 is unaware of what cultural appropriation is, and to see a situation like this occur during Men's Paris Fashion Week clearly shows the industry still has a long way to go.
In response to the backlash, hairstylist Julien d’Ys posted on Instagram: "Dear all, 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 apologize."
Teen Vogue reached out to Comme des Garçons for comment.
Editor's Note: This piece has been updated to include a statement from Julien d'Ys.
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue