Incase you missed it, during PFW last year in October Stella McCartney unveild her SS18 collection and there was a lot of controversy around it, the brand incorporated Ankara designs into their new collection to create dresses, jumpsuits and tops and people were pretty angry. Ankara, which is also known as wax print, is a popular pattern in West African countries like Nigeria, according to All Things Ankara. The print is distinguished by bright colors, tribal designs, and cotton material. It’s frequently used on dresses and is popular for everyday and formal outfits.
“Are we going to talk about Stella McCartney using Ankara prints, meanwhile there was only ONE African model on her runway?!” asked writer Amarachi Nwosu on Twitter, while OkayAfrica accused the designer of “fashion colonialism,” requesting that Western designers “please stop taking designs that Africans have been wearing for years, calling them your own, and charging people out the ass for them.”
As someone who is African I completely get where people were coming from, first of all they could have at least have had the decency to hire more black models to represent the culture behind the designs rather than have white models wearing them, this is where I believe Stella McCartney went wrong. Secondly, anyone of sound mind would never spend £3000 on an Ankara style item when there are so many amazing and underrated African style designers out there that sell great quality pieces for less 2% of the price. Last year during my annual trip back to Zimbabwe I had my local tailor make me 3 Ankara style tops for £4 each and yet Stella McCartney are out here trying to rip off by putting £3000 on a piece of cotton I can buy back home.
“The prints were about celebrating a unique textile craftsmanship, its culture and highlighting its heritage,” Stella McCartney chief marketing officer Stephane Jaspar told Fashionista via email.