Popular

Is Dior's New Collection an Example of How Luxury Brands Should Incorporate 'African-Inspired' Designs?

Some are crediting Dior for "doing their homework" while others aren't quite as convinced.

Last Sunday, luxury French brand Dior unveiled its latest collection Cruise 2020, which fully incorporates West African wax print. They unveiled the collection during their first ever "destination show" on the continent—as the New York Times describes it—which saw the brand flying out several celebrities, including Lupita Nyong'o for a fully-branded fashion experience in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Naturally, questions around the creation of the collection and the appropriation of African styles began to arise.

Was this yet another case of a major fashion house ripping off African designs without involving actual Africans? Will these "creations" be sold for exorbitant prices without benefiting its originators? We've seen this happen with countless fashion labels in the past, including Stella McCartney, which faced immense backlash back in 2017 for ripping off styles that our "aunties had been wearing for years," as well as brands like Marc Jacobs, Valentino and Louis Vuitton—just to name a few.


Dior also faced backlash when they posted about the line on Instagram ahead of the show, calling Morocco the "leading country for fashion in Africa," according to a post from Nigerian-Chinese-Thai model Adesuwa Aighewi who walked the show. As the supermodel shared in an Instagram post, she immediately had a meeting with the label's Creative Director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, to discuss the issue, and she was met with a positive response.

"Honestly it felt really great about speaking up to just ask the simple questions. I couldn't walk a show where multiple Africans had voiced discontent," she wrote. "After our talk, Dior took down the original caption and made sure the conversation was about the preservation of fashion techniques that are being lost was the focus, artisans who need proper recognition for their craft and the need for a conversation between each other."

She added that the line has consulted African brands, like the UK-based gele expert Daniella Keji Osemadewa Ajayi to learn about the history of traditional garb during the line's creation.

"Discussions are critical to understand and move towards a positive future where there are less barriers and encourage an Africa where the artisans are properly treated and valued as they are in the West," she added.

It's always fair to demand transparency from big brands on matters of cultural exchange. As Vanessa Friedman wrote in The New York Times article "It is always dangerous for a European luxury brand to parachute into a continent with a colonial history," and with the fashion world's reputation of stealing from Africa, it's understandable that folks would be skeptical about any line from a Western brand claiming to be "African inspired."

Nonetheless, some online are crediting Dior for "doing their homework" while others stand by accusations of appropriation—proving once again that matters of cultural exchange and ownership are never easily black and white.




Photo credit should read KELVIN IKPEA/AFP via Getty Images

The Netherlands Returns Nigeria's Centuries-Old Stolen Artefact

The Netherlands has returned to Nigeria a 600-year-old stolen artefact, the Ife Terracotta, which has been received by Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

According to The Guardian Nigeria, the Netherlands has returned a 600-year-old artefact to Nigeria. This comes after the artefact was reportedly smuggled using fraudulent papers through Ghana to the Dutch country. Netherlands ambassador to Nigeria, Harry van Dijk, handed over the Ife Terracotta to Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture. The repatriation of the small but "priceless" Ife Terracotta has been a long journey considering it was reportedly smuggled out of Nigeria in 2019.

Keep reading... Show less
News Brief
'What A Life' album cover

Sho Madjozi Drops New Upbeat Mixtape 'What A Life'

Sho Madjozi drops her latest mixtape 'What A Life' featuring Manu WorldStar, Dr Thomas Chauke, Makhadzi and many more.

Sho Madjozi has released her latest mixtape titled What A Life. This is the second official release from the artist following her wildly successful 2018 debut album, Limpopo Champions League. The South African "John Cena" hitmaker has come back with a banging nine-track project. Sho Madjozi's What A Life which is a compilation of bangers with some of her own favourite South African artists. Manu WorldStar, Dr Thomas Chauke, Makhadzi, DJ Mfundhisi, Sunglen Chabalala and Russian Army feature on the mixtape. This mixtape drops just a few months after Sho Madjozi signed a major deal with American record label, Epic Records.

Keep reading... Show less
Still taken from YouTube.

Watch Kizz Daniel's Latest 'Boys Are Bad' Music Video

Kizz Daniel drops the visuals for 'Boys Are Bad' which features on his third studio album, 'King of Love'.

Nigerian artist Kizz Daniel has dropped the sexy visuals for his hit single "Boys Are Bad" which features on his third studio album, King of Love. The Afropop hitmaker recently shared news of the vibrant song's visuals on social media. The brief but undeniably alluring music video is treated with an array of mellow colours which collectively set the tone for a laid-back atmosphere. According to PulseNG, Kizz Daniel has created a "captivating and groovy dancehall video" for "Boys Are Bad".

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Netflix Cancels Second Season of 'Queen Sono' Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Netflix has reportedly cited filming challenges that have been brought on by the pandemic as the reason for their decision to cancel the second season of the spy-thriller series, 'Queen Sono'.