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Highsnobiety Commentary August, 14 2013

When a Trend Hits Too Close to Home

Our family over at Selectism organized their thoughts regarding the feeling of when trends hit too close to home. Check out an excerpt below followed by a link to the full piece.

Like a snowball down a mountain or a Taylor Swift song, the influx of African print patterns into menswear is getting hard to avoid. And this writer is not a fan.

Before you head to the comments section to angrily type ‘you iz racist n a hater’ hear me out. I have lots of African friends, so it’s ok. I’m also of Nigerian descent myself, which means my hate of this trend comes from a personal place. There’s a number of issues with this trend that, at best, can be irksome and, at worst, fall into one of the many tone deaf ways that fashion deals with co-opting items that have cultural meaning.

Fashion magazines aren’t great with context or nuance, with the ‘that’s amazing!’ side of things overshadowing the smaller things. So it’s almost forgivable that the phrase ‘African inspired’ appears so readily in print. Almost, but a writer saying a collection that was inspired by, say, a remote French village was ‘European inspired’ wouldn’t be acceptable. And neither should the vague ‘African’ inspired term either. I’ve seen phrases like ‘totally ethnic’ used by designers to describe a collection, which sounds like a Godfrey Bloom quote. But it’s not all bad. Trine Lindegaard’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection involved work with traditional Ghanaian fabric weavers that avoided lazy descriptions and didn’t diminish the importance of that influence in the collection. Also, it would be unfair to make out like this is the first time fashion has co-opted something and either totally ignored or stripped away any semblance of context and social importance.

For the rest of the piece, head over here.

Written by Jason Dike for Selectism

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