via Refinery29

Marc Jacobs found himself at the center of another controversy after his fashion show featured models in pastel faux-dreadlocks. Many took to social media to express annoyance, particularly because Jacobs credited Boy George, Marilyn Manson, Lana Wachowski, Harajuku girls and rave culture as inspirations for the look — totally ignoring the millions of black and brown people who wear locs worldwide. Others wondered why he didn’t just use mostly black models if locs were the look he was going for. Keep in mind, too, that Marc Jacobs incorporated ‘twisted mini buns’ (aka bantu knots) into his 2015 show and — again — gave no credit or reference to black culture.

This might have all just blown over as another exhausting case of appropriation had Jacobs not responded to his critics with some questionable logic. In a now-deleted Instagram post, he had stern words for those who “cry” cultural appropriation:

via Refinery29

He states,

“all who cry ‘cultural appropriation’ or whatever nonsense about any race of skin color wearing their hair in any particular style or manner – funny how you don’t criticize women of color for straightening their hair.”

Not only is this logic flawed and lazy, it’s dangerous. Straight hair is not cultural appropriation — it was and still is a means of assimilation to a dominant culture that often punishes black women for wearing their hair in its naturally kinky, curly and coily texture. Black women are still being fired from jobs, kicked out of schools and — until recently — kicked out of the military for wearing natural hair styles. Black girls in South Africa — in an AFRICAN country — are fighting against a neo-colonial culture for the right to wear their hair naturally to school.

Perhaps most egregious is that Jacobs pulled the “I don’t see race” card. Funny that his color blindness doesn’t extend to his line of foundations, which is VOID of matches for dark skin…

Marc Jacobs' foundations... Are these the only colors he sees?
Marc Jacobs’ line of foundations… It seems the only thing he is ‘blind’ to is dark skin…

And let me be clear – not “seeing” race is a form of white privilege that completely ignores racism, mainly for the sake of the white person feeling more comfortable about how they treat others. Black people don’t have the luxury of not seeing race, because we’re reminded of it everyday by the way we’re treated — especially in the beauty industry. Social media users were on hand to give Jacobs a strong read…

Please come again Marc because this nonsense isn’t cutting it.
UPDATE 9/18/16: Marc Jacobs has now posted an “apology” to Instagram addressing the controversy.

By this non-apology apology, it seems that he still does not understand the issues people have with his actions and comments. That’s unfortunate.


Elle is the editor and creative director of the YouTube channel and blog, Quest for the Perfect Curl at Her channel focuses on natural hair, beauty, and fitness. She loves products that smell like dessert, yoga, and glitter. Follow her @qftpc.

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33 Comments on "Marc Jacobs: ‘I Shouldn’t Be Criticized for Copying Black Styles Because Black Women Straighten Their Hair’"

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[…] of saying that I am remotely an expert on the topic, or even dream I really understand things (Here is a much better article on the problem than I could ever write and important to read to understand […]


Celtics had dreadlocks.


No, they didn’t. The Celtics wore matted hair styles, but they were not dreadlocks.


That’s a silly distinction.


Uh, who were those upper foundations made for? Vampires? So u can make shades for the undead but not for black women? Yeah, you don’t see colour.


I’ve never seen a pure blooded black person with straight hair.
We have tightly coiled kink Afro hair, where do you guys find these straight haired ‘Black’ people?


I have. East Africa.


Also I think describing a black person as pure blooded gets problematic for me since what does that really mean? I’m not policing levels of blackness in black folks to that degree. My family has European DNA in our bloodline yet we are black.

Lauray Co. Clothing
For some black women straightening their hair is not for fashion or to be trendy but because the society we live in does not appreciate the black women’s hair in its natural state. We can see this in the recent court hearing that ruled discrimination against those who have dreads in job interviews legal. There is also the common misconception that natural hair styles are connected with the lack of professionalism. For these reasons black women straighten their hair so they won’t be judged. While Marc Jacobs was using black hairstyles as means of fashion and not necessity. -Lauray Co.… Read more »

Apparently the people who rescinded a job offer because the young lady wore them

Eden Everly

Dreadlocks don’t belong to one culture. The Celts wore them. Stop your shit now! Just as harmful to our world and to our relationships.

“Wrong. The problem is that you’re lumping together a whole bunch of things that are not dreadlocks: don’t look like dreadlocks, aren’t called dreadlocks, don’t have the same social/historical meaning as dreadlocks;all in the same category like they’re the same thing. That’s a form of cultural erasure, and it’s not accurate. The only confirmed matted (not dreaded) hairstyles of Europe were the glibbe and the plica polonica,neither of which look anything like dreadlocks. And the Vikings were sticklers for having untangled hair, to the point where they kept combs on them at all times (which they were eventually buried with,… Read more »

Hair belongs to the person not the race. Whether you want to go natural straighten it dye it curl it dread it whatever is your choice. Youre not limited or banned from certain hairstyles because you are/arent from a certain race or culture.

Lets not start an issue out of nothing




I also wrote about this on my blog. I wasn’t particularly bothered by his use of faux locs, but I was extremely upset about the fact that he actually had the gall to compare white women wearing faux locs with socially acceptable hair tucked underneath to black women straightening their hair in order to have access to jobs and other resources. Boy, bye.

Publix Subs

lol @ racist blacks thinking nobody else has ever had dreadlocks or they own a certain hair type OR style.

Sabrina black

Any of the comments that disagrees with his opposition, I’m with you. Someone’s right. Assimilation is not cultural appropriation.


[…] Another example of cultural appropriation is the wonderful fashion show put on by Marc Jacobs and his completely logical response and bulletproof argument. One of my favorite blogs wrote a post on the subject last week. You can find their article here . […]


Dreadlocks belong to NOONE!! Rastafari belongs to NOONE. Locks have historically been worn by ALL races. It is not exclusive to Black/African people. Has anyone asked RASTAFARIANS how they feel about this? Dreadlocks and Rastafari are a way of life. There are now more “loc-ed” hairstyles on persons who do not subscribe to Rastafari than Rastafarians with locs. If BGLH wants to tackle this issue, then they (BGLH) need to speak to the real stake holders, i.e. the Rastafarian community or communities/people/races who have a history of loc-ing their hair.


No, dreadlocks have not historically been worn by all races. They have traditionally and historically been worn by brown peoples with kinkier/curlier textured hair.


Saying dreadlocks are cultural appropriation of black people is like saying using a bow and arrow is cultural appropriation of native americans. Deadlocks can be found in nearly every culture since the dawn of time. it only requires hair.


Prove it. There’s a difference between dred locks and matted hair. One requires a curl pattern.

Professor Genki

Who the hell cares who wears Dreds and who doesn’t?

Reina Benoir

Marc Jacobs needs to keep Black women out of his argument on this like he kept us out of his show.

Deanna Jackson

You can’t appropriate something you do for survival or to fit in with the dominant culture so they need to stop with the “Black girls straighten their hair” bullshit. Assimilation is NOT cultural appropriation. Also, black women DO get criticized for straightening our hair. We get called “Negropean” and have other disparaging remarks against us. I keep my hair in its natural state and in some cases, we get fired or called “unprofessional” for wearing our natural hair. Students get suspended and/or expelled from school for wearing their natural hair.


Marc Jacobs is a manipulator. He wants to control everyone. He’s
torturing a talented young designer named Angel Barta for 7 years. He
copied her work for many brands without giving her any credit. Read the
truth about him at styleangelique blogspot


An important point to add (that seems to have been missed in all this) is that many black women are born with straight hair. Most Somalians and Nigeriens (not Nigeria but Niger: a landlocked country in west africa) have naturally straight hair. So no, straight is not even remotely cultural appropriation.


Yes. Straight hair is not a white thing.


Plenty of non-black/brown people also have naturally curly hair that can become dreadlocks…so how is wearing dreadlocks cultural appropriation then? According to your argument, it isn’t.


sorry but as a Nigerian I have never seen a Nigerian with straight and I lived there for 8 years it might be relaxed hair or 4c hair that looks straight. But if there is how? just curious!

CocoSheaNut by Ayo

what an idiot


Not that I support his stance. But I purchased some foundation from his line when it first debuted and it had several dark shades. And before anyone says anything, I am dark skinned. Unfortunately, I rarely wore the foundation because it wasn’t formulated for oily skin. Now as for his comment…there’s a fine line between appreciation and appropriation. He crossed it AGAIN.

He and many like him are clueless as to the racial inequalities and dynamics in this country. Specifically with locs, seems like everyone dusts off their anthropology degrees, talking about whichever religion Indian sects have been locking their hair for centuries. We’re not talking about them. We’re not talking about the 1700s. We’re talking about CURRENT policy in schools and at business that specifically target black styles like locs, braids, twists, and Afros. As this article states, people have suffered real consequences for wearing their hair natural. Straightening hair and anything viewed as “normal” or “average” is part of assimilation.… Read more »