Japanese fashion brand Comme des Garcons has been accused of cultural appropriation after a series of white models walked down the runway wearing cornrow wigs.
The models appeared on the catwalk during men’s fashion week in Paris earlier today.
The self-appointed fashion watchdog Diet Prada accused the cult brand of ‘taking a step back’ following the show.
It added that even those taking part in the show seemed embarrassed and claimed: ‘The look on the models’ faces says it all.’
One black model also wore one of the cornrow wigs during the show which prompted calls for the label to ‘use more African men’ with their natural hair.
Comme des Garcons is yet to comment but the French hair stylist responsible for the look took to Instagram to defend it.
Julien Dys said it was meant as a reference to the ancient Egyptians rather than to cornrows.
He wrote: ‘My inspiration for the Comme des Garcons show was an Egyptian prince, a look I found truly beautiful and inspirational.
‘Never was it my intention to hurt or offend anyone, ever. If I did I deeply apologise.’
Social media users were quick to comment on his post, weighing in on both sides of the argument.
One user, @markschnovel, came to the designer’s defence and said: ‘You have nothing to apologise for.’
Before another, @thanos_samaras, added: ‘It was not offensive, only glorious.’
But others continued to criticise the designer’s choice to use cornrow wigs on white models.
The Instagram account, @jiaojiao.exe, wrote: ‘This is ignorant. Please do your research.’
And another, @jinibeams, added: ‘Anyone who is supporting this is facilitating cultural appropriation and racism…’
Comme des Garcons was criticised in 2018 for reportedly not using a black model for more than 20 years.
Diet Prada, which has 1.7 million followers on Instagram and uses the platform to regularly chide labels, has a record of pulling brands on racial insensitivity including the notorious Gucci ‘blackface’ jumper.
Paris men’s fashion week ended on Sunday with a week of haute couture shows with Dior, Iris Van Herpen and Schiaparelli starting on Monday.