Junya Watanabe Likes African Culture But Not Africans

Junya Watanabe Likes African Culture But Not Africans

Junya Watanabe 16SS #PFW

A photo posted by K O K K O . m e (@kokkome) on

Since watching fashion shows is one of my great pastimes — no, really, like even when I’m not working I like to see them — I’m constantly reminding myself: this is a multi-billion dollar international industry. All designers are not privvy and informed about domestic tensions and the most current, nuanced events. And while that may quiet me for three minutes, before long my brain wants to scream at designers: THIS IS A MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRY! Why are you not making yourself informed of the domestic tensions and most current nuanced events that are going on? The latest news slug for that international conversation was the Junya Watanabe Spring 2016 collection. First off Watanabe is a Japanese designer. He is without question an artist in all the ways a designer can be an artist and was the protege to Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons. He’s amazing. That said, the collection he showed was fairly amazing as well It included a flush of prints and textiles typically associated with Africa but acquired by way of the Dutch who sell it often to West and Central Africa. These fabrics mixed in with more “Western” ones gave the collection political leanings, things seemed to nod toward ideas of colonialism and Africana. But then there were the models.


With dreadlocked wigs, braided hair and fringe accessories, none of these stand-in witch doctors a complexion, one shade beyond’s Rachel Dolezal. In fact, some of them seemed akin to her and her claim to be black. Twitter of course had quit a few snide remarks for the collection but most of the reviewers; let’s just say we haven’t recently seen so many people sidestep a situation in unison.
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