Last weekend, Junya Watanabe (the Japanese clothes designer) had a menswear show at the Museum of Immigrants. It was an African inspired show, however it received a lot of criticism and controversy for possible cultural appropriation and the lack of ethnic diversity for a show containing so much African textiles. With the cast being prominently white, some people suggested that the reason for this was to communicate a message on colonialism. Whilst at first, hearing this might sound like they’re digging a little too deep, scraping for a desperate excuse to save it – after finding out the collection was made in collaboration with Vilsco, it seems much morel likely.
For those who don’t know what Vilsco is, they’re a Dutch company that has supplied fabric to West and Central Africa for centuries, they were apparently very important in shaping the regions cultural identity. Adding to that, British-Nigerian artist, Yinka Shonibare uses some of their fabrics for his work to ‘challenge colonial history’.
So what do you think? Was the menswear clothes show cultural appropriation or was it it trying to show a message about colonialism?