An Open Letter to Marc Jacobs

By: Rachel Garnett


When you launched your Spring 2017 collection at New York Fashion Week, I was eager to see what I knew would be eclectic patterns and high-end ensembles I’d never actually wear. Rather than recaps of your new line, my timeline became flooded with scrutiny and disappointment in regard to the hairstyle choices you chose for the models taking the runway. Your disconcerted response proved to be even more vexing and I found myself wanting to add to the list of justifiably petty tweets in your Twitter mentions.

I understand you were flustered. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I recognize you felt pressure when being accused of something you may not have intended to do. I’m not here to attack you or label you racist. I do however believe you’re absolutely misinformed and therefore feel the need to educate you on where the accusations against you are coming from. It is apparent you need a better context of the sting connected to your decisions.

We can start with the obvious: Kendall and Gigi wear dreadlocks and it’s high fashion. Zendaya dons locs and they’re “dirty.” It is essentially summed up in the commonly used metaphor: you present a paper in class and get a “C” while another student presents your same paper and gets an “A.”

I wish it was as simple as a class presentation but unfortunately this issue digs much deeper. Look back to slavery: it is painstakingly clear that Black women are inherently at a disadvantage. Within our very first presence in this country, there was a certain kind of Black woman that was deemed “acceptable” enough to work in the master’s house and therefore around their white owners.

That leaves us with the type of Black woman that merely existed for work and bearing more slaves. The differentiation was commonly divided by skin tone, as Willie Lynch describes in his address to slave masters in 1712. Lynch describes using skin tone as a method to separate and define slaves, however hair played a big part in the process as well.

An enslaved Black woman with lighter skin and “better hair,” due to her already mixed mother being raped by her master, was much more likely to survive by being accepted to work in “better” conditions. In other words, how European you looked determined the kind of life you lived.

This is not to be filed under history alone. In your response, your frustration led you to express an argument that many dissenting opinions believe: why are we complaining about white women wearing dreadlocks if Black women straighten their hair? It is essential you understand there is an alarming difference.

To this day, Black women consciously and subconsciously straighten their hair and adopt other European hairstyles as a means for survival. To get a decent job (hell, any job), be seen as attractive, or even be acknowledged in general, you have to look “presentable.” In case you didn’t know, being “presentable” and “acceptable” from a societal standpoint is strictly based off

European standards. This becomes a parallel similar to how the more acceptable “house slaves” were often the ones with lighter skin and more European looking features. Even as we are represented by some of the most influential and iconic figures of our generation, we continue to have absolutely no control over white standards being the norm. We do not have the luxury to survive in a professional world as our natural selves.

When we do, we do so unapologetically. However, you must understand this liberation never comes without a fight. For those unable to fight because they fear losing their job, they have no choice but to comply. They have no choice but to stand in the mirror and watch their vibrant coils quickly turn lifeless. This is a history of coercion so prominent that many Black women in these circumstances are unable to even identify the issue.

This goes beyond my opinion. They’re taking away our jobs, kicking us out of school, and harassing us in public for hairstyles that served as the last piece of autonomy we had left.

Like many, you say don’t see color but I’m requesting that you do. It is crucial for you to see color because the world around you certainly does. The United States court, who deemed it legal for a workplace to discriminate against the same hairstyle that you’re dressing white models in, absolutely sees color.

We need you to see color because then you will understand that accusations of cultural appropriation are much more than a bunch of angry Black women on Twitter threatening your sales. They represent a group of people oppressed every day for merely living in a space and operating in a system that never considered them to begin with.


Rachel Garnett

Leave a Reply

27 Comments on "An Open Letter to Marc Jacobs"

Leave a Comment

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
1 year 4 months ago

I’m so very proud of Rachel. She has so much class and is such an amazing young lady.

2 months 3 days ago

buy Mountain Hardwear

The casual could be that widget matched with.

2 months 9 hours ago

buy merrell online

I added your blog to bookmarks. And i’ll read your articles more often! Before this, it would be possible for the government to arrest you just based on whatever you were saying, if they didnt like it.

1 month 30 days ago

canada goose store

Really informative and superb complex body part of subject matter, now thats user friendly

1 month 29 days ago

LK Bennett on sale

A cool blog post right there mate ! Thanks for the post .

1 month 26 days ago

mammut for sale

Of course, what a awesome internet site and informative posts, I will add backlink bookmark this website? Regards, Reader.

1 month 26 days ago

coach – outlet online

where the theme of

1 month 14 days ago

parajumpers jackets online

I am going to go ahead and bookmark this post for my brother for a coming up research project for class. This is a appealing internet site by the way. Where did you acquire the template for this webpage?

1 month 14 days ago

ugg coquette sale

cool info keep up the work! thanx

1 month 12 days ago

cheap marmot

Just a fast hello and also to thank you for discussing your ideas on this page. I wound up in your weblog right after researching physical fitness connected issues on Yahoo guess I lost track of what I had been performing! Anyway I’ll be back as soon…

1 month 10 days ago

buy fjallraven jackets

shelagh scandal eklund stromboli jacomet cavern garnett hildebrandt waylay

1 month 7 days ago

belstaff shoes sale

Can I simply say what a aid to seek out someone who really is aware of what theyre speaking about on the internet. You definitely know learn how to carry a problem to light and make it important. Extra individuals have to learn this and perceive this a…

28 days 16 hours ago

mountain hardwear聽outlet

Your website came up in my search and I am impressed by what you have published on this topic. I am currently expanding my inquiry and thus cannot contribute further, nevertheless, I have bookmarked your website and will be returning to keep up with an…

27 days 21 hours ago

discount mammut outlet

You completed various good points there. I did a search on the subject and found most folks will go along with with your blog.

25 days 35 minutes ago

belstaff sale items

I completely agree with the above comment, the internet is with a doubt growing into the a excellent number of important medium of communication across the globe and its due to sites like this that ideas are spreading so quickly. My best wishes, Alda.

24 days 6 hours ago

ugg on sale

Bom dia amigos, verdadeiramente mandar um SMS grátis está cada vez mais custoso devido falta de opções das operadoras móveis. Há ainda os websites que prometem entregar minha menssagem mas nem sempre chegam ao usuário final. Alguns como o Mundo oi e o…

21 days 14 hours ago

balmain shoes

If you can not find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it Dogen Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul unbelief, denying them.

20 days 19 hours ago

discount Pierre Hardy online

This one is an inspiration personally to uncover out much more related to this subject. I have to confess your data prolonged my sentiments as well as Im going to proper now take your feed to stay updated on every coming weblog posts you would possibly…

18 days 2 hours ago

berghaus shorts sale

Hey, nice blog with good info. I really like coming back here often. There?s only one thing that annoys me and that is the misfunctioning of comment posting. I usually get to 500 error page, and have to do the post twice. The harder I work the luckier…

17 days 7 hours ago

buy patagonia jackets

Im happy I found this blog, I couldnt learn any information on this topic matter prior to. I also run a site and if you want to ever serious in a little bit of guest writing for me if achievable really feel free to let me know, im always look for peopl…

14 days 17 hours ago

shop online victoria secret

I got a lump in my throat when I thought of that.

13 days 22 hours ago

vibram fivefingers sale

I have been checking out a few of your stories and i can state pretty clever stuff. I will surely bookmark your blog.

11 days 10 hours ago

discount Mountain Hardwear

TY for putting this up, it was very handy and helped me very much

8 days 21 hours ago

cheap jerseys for sale

Im not going to say anyones name since I dont have to leave out anyone.

6 days 4 hours ago

Mountain Hardwear online

Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to “return the favor”.Im trying to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

1 day 19 hours ago

callaway iron sets for sale

I really like what you posted. I really agree with what you wrote.

9 hours 43 minutes ago

fjallraven store online

Thumbs up for this great post!!!