Haute Couture 6 times luxury fashion brands appropriated African designs

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Western labels have been stealing African aesthetics for years, here are just six recent examples.

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Luxury fashion brands in the west have for some time now been "taking inspiration" from African fashion.

British designer Stella McCartney recently found herself on the end of a social middle storm during Paris Fashion Week when she was accused of appropriating African print designs.

This phenomenon isn't new. Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa has compiled fiive other times designers have used African designs and felt the clap back.

1. Marc Jacobs' Dreaded Runway

Last year, the designer came under fire for sending white models down the runway with colourful dreadlocks during his Spring 2017 show. This was around the same time that the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it legal to ban the wearing of dreadlocks in the workplace.

 

2.Louis Vuitton's Bootleg Maasai Collection

Louis Vuitton is not new to this either. The label also released a range of Maasai-inspired clothing in 2012, called Maasai. As you probably guessed, Maasai people were neither consulted nor compensated.

3. Mass fashion retailers make "Ghana Must Go Bags" streetwear trend for privileged fashion elite.

In fall 2013, luxury fashion houses like Stella McCartney, Céline and Louis Vuitton unveiled new tops, skirts, tops and bags which featured simple plaid designs that channelled the highly recognizable plastic tote bags, commonly referred to as "Ghana Must Go Bags" in parts of West Africa.

4.Valentino does "primitive, tribal" wear

In 2015, a Valentino show sparked controversy for its collection inspired by "wild, tribal Africa," as the label put it. “Primitive, tribal, spiritual, yet regal," was also used to describe the line that was supposed to represent a “journey to the beginning of time & the essential of primitive nature."

 

5.Burberry Denies African Influence

Burberry's 2012 collection featured designs that drew heavily on East African kitenge textiles. However, when asked about the inspiration behind the clothing, Burberry's chief designer, Christopher Bailey, denied any African influence, claiming that the pieces were inspired, instead, by British sculptor Henry Moore. Ok.