These mines so often plundered just keep on giving. And they keep on taking.
Designer Stella McCartney dropped the ball. Perhaps she was too busy patting herself on the back for being a vegetarian who cares about the environment to care about being the epitome of British imperialism in the realm of cultural appropriation. For her latest runway show at Paris Fashion Week, Stella McCartney’s neocolonial use of Ankara/wax print (patterns and materials found and used in Nigeria and other West African nations) is disappointing. The dismal lack of cultural sensitivity and appropriation are so blatant, you might as well call it trolling. My tilted head and narrowed eyes are similar to the reaction of Yaya Dacosta when her style was described as ‘ethnic’ by a fashionista she was trying to work for on Cycle Three of America’s Next Top Model. I cycle past Stella McCartney store in Chelsea often. I can assure you that when they see these poorly designed creations, they will also be described as ‘ethnic’ by Lady Rebecca, AKA- Becky. I can also assure you that she still pronounces Kenya as ‘KEEN-YAA’.The history of this fabric is incredibly colonial. Dutch traders imitated the batik patterns of Indonesia and with the mass production technologies brought about by the industrial revolution, were able to sell fabric back to their colonial subjects much to their general distaste. When sales there dipped, their brightly colored fabric found new markets in West Africa. Over the course of the last century these kaleidoscopic and breathable materials have graced Black bodies beautifully and come to be associated with us at times of leisure, domesticity and high regality.