Comme des Garçons is a Japanese fashion brand known for its high conceptualism. Rei Kawakubo, the brand's designer, has sent models down the runway wearing carpet remnants, anime characters, and 2-D flat clothing. CdG's has many devoted fans‚ including Rihanna, whose floral Met Gala look is as iconic as Kawakubo herself.
So when Comme des Garçons made a rare misstep, woke fashion fans rightfully took them to task. This weekend, CdG sent white male models down the runway wearing braids — backlash ensued, and the company has apologized. Here's the full story.
As you can see, models were sent down the runway like this. *claps palm to forehead*
Yes, in the year our Lord 2020, this is still happening. For its fall 2020 collection, Comme des Garçons Homme Plus (the brand's menswear label) sent white models down the runway wearing these wigs, designed to look like cascading braids. It's a stunningly tone-deaf display of cultural appropriation‚ given that the look was reportedly inspired by ancient Egyptian pharaohs.
It was a deliberate styling choice.
The lace-front wigs were given to all of the white-passing and Asian models. Some models' braids were blond, black and blond, or black. Of the seven black models in the show, two were styled with the wig. The rest wore their natural braids, adding insult to injury. Clearly, this isn't great.
The brand itself was more contrite.
Comme des Garçons occupies a unique space in fashion.
CdG isn't just a beloved fashion brand — it has almost mythic status. Kawakubo was given her own solo retrospective show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, exhibiting her cerebral runway creations that challenge our notions of clothing, gender, practicality, and art.
Given CdG's deeply respected place in the fashion world, it's all the more disappointing that the brand made this styling decision. Hopefully, Kawakubo — and other fashion houses — will learn from this.