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I'm sure you've all noticed the recent upsurge of African print in the fashion industry. Whether it's the now trendy Dashiki, Ankara, Kente cloth or even the 'Ghana-must-go' bag, Africa and it's culture has become the latest fashion accessory and it really angers me!

Exhibit A

Gwen Stefani in Ankara (L.A.M.B)
Gwen 'Culture Vulture' Stefani created a whole collection with Ankara for her L.A.M.B. clothing line.

This trend started a couple or so years ago and many people have been speaking out about the effects of cultural appropriation, not only in relation to African cultures (of which there are many), but of many other cultures too.

Cultural appropriation at Coachella
Coachella - a hub for cultural appropriation

Celebrities like Katy Perry have received so much backlash on social media that we're wondering how she'll create a music video now that she can't use someone else's culture as a theme. 🙃

What angers me most about the whole thing is that very few Africans are making the money from this trend; if anyone should benefit from a culture becoming fashionable (which in itself is a point of contempt for me), it should be those to whom the culture belongs.

Rihanna in Ankara

Rih looks gorgeous and the

designer, Stella Jean, is NRH approved. ✔️

I'm not saying that people from other backgrounds shouldn't wear items from a culture different from their own (Draya's little Ankara ensemble is still on my wish list!) HOWEVER, I do feel that it should be done in a way that shows appreciation for the culture and not as a fleeting accessory.

Draya Ankara 2 Piece

So damn cute! 😍

Exhibit B

Marc Jacobs Fashion Show - Dreadlocks
Do you think Mr Jacobs would hire a model that came into a casting with dreadlocks? 🙃

The history behind deadlocks is a very rich one and yet in society, dreadlocks are viewed as simply 'dirty' and 'unkept', so much so that it is still banned in schools and many work environments. Most recently, a 12 year old boy was being taught in isolation at a school in London as punishment for having dreadlocks.

And this is the issue with cultural appropriation: a black person who decides to use models with dreadlocks on a runway would be deemed 'ghetto' or 'urban' (I hate that word with a passion!) yet Marc Jacobs used a component of black culture (FYI: dreadlocks are not exclusive to Jamaicans) as an accessory to sell his collection, in order to make thousands of dollars and was deemed 'fashion forward' and 'creative'.

Exhibit C

Louis Vuitton Ghana must go bag

The fact that Louis Vuitton could get away with selling a 'Ghana-must-go' bag for £1,400 by simply stamping their logo on a bag that can be bought in Brixton Market for under £10 and that is symbolic of a time of great distress for many West Africans, is simply unacceptable!

It is not right or fair that companies and celebrities continue to benefit from other's culture while those of said culture are alienated for embracing what is rightfully theirs. Below I have added some links to African Fashion businesses owned by Africans so that they can represent their cultures, appropriately. Happy Black History Month! 🌍❤️

1. Lavie by Claude Kameni (IG: @laviebyck) - Gorgeous gowns

Lavie by Claude Kameni

2. GPUK (IG: @gpuk) - Africa inspired jewellery

Accessories by GPUK

3. Adehyie Clothing (IG: @adehyieclothing) - Ghanaian inspired apparel

Hoodie by Adehyie Clothing

4. Thando's Shoes (IG: @thandosshoes) - African designed vegan shoes

Foldable vegan shoes by Thando's Shoes

5. Maxhosa by Laduma™ (IG: @maxhosa) - South Africa based clothing brand

Maxhosa SS17 ensamble

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