My Unpopular Opinion About Marc Jacobs' Fall Collection Spread in September's InStyle Magazine






Hey lovelies! I'm a little late getting this post out. In case you missed it, there was a bit of controversy about the Marc Jacobs fashion spread in the September issue of InStyle Magazine.



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The spread was photographed by none other than Hype Williams. The images showcased Jacobs' fall collection which was inspired by 80s hip hop culture. It also featured the likes of Kurtis Blow, Biz Markie, L.L. Cool J, and Salt-N-Pepa. Sounds like nothing to get upset about. However, people have become upset. Images from the spread, minus the article that went along with it, were shared across social media. Many remembered the incident last fall when Jacobs' was accused of cultural appropriation for the hairstyles of his models on the runway. If any remember, Jacobs didn't make matters any better by being defensive when he tried to use the hairstyles that many black women wear as being the same thing.




See, when you do such things people will suspect you of pulling the same mess in the future. That is exactly what happened with Jacobs' fall collection. Many assumed Jacobs' was at it again with appropriating hip hop culture and even felt the old school artists who appeared in the images as selling out.

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What nobody bothered to do was read the InStyle article or even go back to earlier in the year when Jacobs showcased the collection on the runway and gave his inspiration for it. Jacobs is from New York, he grew up during the time when hip hop in New York was a huge deal and was becoming a part of the city's culture. So, Jacobs took inspiration from a musical era that played a part in his coming age.




Sorry to tell you folks. He was not culturally appropriating hip hop. He took inspiration from the fashion that the music sparked for his latest collection. Guess what? That is how fashion conceptualization works. Designers gain inspiration from a source and create their collection from that inspiration. That source of inspiration can be music, film, art, an artist, the weather, politics, the economy, and yes different cultures. When a designer is inspired by a particular culture they incorporate elements from the culture in their collection. The goal is to try not to literally take the entire cultural dress and use it in the collection. Some have made this mistake with geisha dress and tribal dress. In those cases, cultural appropriation did take place.

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In the case of Jacobs' fall, hip hop inspired collection. Cultural appropriation is not what has happened. I think sometimes before we jump on something to call it out we need to find the source. If anyone had bothered to read the InStyle article the leaked images came from, then there would not be any controversy.




I am not jumping on the Marc Jacobs bashing with this. There is nothing to be upset about. Maybe my knowledge as a fashion designer gives me a different perspective. I simply think if people sought out additional information this would have been squashed before it even became a thing.

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Just some food for thought. If Marc Jacobs' fall collection is cultural appropriation then so is Baz Luhrmann's "The Get Down" on Netflix. Both artistic mediums are using early hip hop culture as their theme. Both are created by white men. Both white men are profiting from it. However, I bet nobody wants to throw stones at one of their favorite Netflix shows, huh? You know what? You shouldn't throw stones at either.


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There is a fine line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. I think that line gets blurred at times. Think to yourself. Is Marc Jacobs going to be remembered for this particular collection? Will people assume he created the early style of dress that mainly featured Adidas, Kangol, and Puma? Oh, and if anyone bothers to read the article in InStyle Magazine, Marc Jacobs gives the hair explanation his indignant behind should have given last year. Yes, Marc I am calling you out on that because you are a businessman who is old enough to know how to deal with the public even if they come at you without knowing all of the facts.

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Have you read the September issue of InStyle Magazine yet? After reading it, do you believe Marc Jacobs is culturally appropriating early hip hop culture and dress?






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