In yet another incident of the internet calling-out for diversity, reality star to real life model, Kendall Jenner finds herself at the centre of backlash following her appearance in Mango’s Spring’16 campaign.
The new ads are being trickled out in trends, with a different star fronting each one, and the first is Kendall rocking the “Tribal Spirit” trend, said to be ‘inspired by the African Savanna’.
The looks include fringe details, a large bracelet and loose fit clothes in cream and khaki, which are supposedly where the inspiration lead them.
Online users have taken issue with the fact that the brand has chosen a white model to depict this trend, when a model of colour could have been given the opportunity; and some have also expressed their disappointment in the naming of the trend, when Africa is a continent of many countries, cultures and tribes – a fact Mango seems to have overlooked.READ MORE: THE 2016 OSCARS OVERLOOKS BLACK TALENT, WITH ALL WHITE NOMINATIONS
Vice president at Mango, Daniel López said of the brand’s decision to use Ms Jenner;
“We thought that she was the best model to embody this trend.”
Meanwhile, on Instagram, where the campaign was first revealed, one of Mango’s followers said;
“You honestly couldn’t find any coloured woman to be the face of your “tribal spirit look”??
…First of all, it’s disrespectful using people’s native clothing as a ‘new fashion trend’, then instead of using a [woman of colour] you go find a white woman?? Cause women of colour only exist for when you need back up models??
You are trash. I hope this campaign fails.”
READ MORE: ACTRESS AMANDLA STENBERG CALLS OUT FASHION’S MISAPPROPRIATION OF BLACK CULTURE
“Why…is she the face of an AFRICAN themed ‘tribal’ campaign?? Why didn’t they hire a african/black model???!”
But this isn’t the first case of misappropriation of black or African culture, with many brands being ‘inspired by’ traditional dress, beauty or hairstyles, but opting not to provide more models of colour the opportunity to be involved, making the lack of diversity in modelling and within the media more obvious.
Making the same mistake for Spring/Summer’16, Valentino showcased an entire collection at the end of last year, also inspired by Africa and represented by a majority of white models.
The girls wore feathered garments, some including neckpieces that took their form in the vein of toothy Zulu necklaces – and these accessorised fringed leather ensembles and the cornrows they wore in their hair, with a mere 8 out of 87 models being models of colour.
READ MORE: KYLIE JENNER’S CALLED OUT FOR WEARING CORNROWS
While strides need to be made to improve the diversity issue within the industry, the fact that most fashion houses and highstreet brands are looking to maximise their reach on social media (sparking many changes in the industry so far, both inside the labels and at trade events like Fashion Week) may work in diversity’s favour, with public backlash via the internet and cries for improvement likely to make an impact on the way labels operate under the world’s gaze.
Meanwhile, we’ll look out for any further word on Mango’s misappropriation mistake and any further comment on Kendall Jenner’s Spring’16 “Tribal Spirit” campaign, but tell us what you think in the comments box or online @SPICETVAFRICA.
Video & image source: @Mango, Refinery29.com, Mtv.com, Metro.co.uk