Monocycle: Episode 38, Cultural Appropriation

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Not to beat a horse that has been killed multiple times already but in this week’s episode of Monocycle, we reopen the conversation around the dreadlocks at the Marc Jacobs Spring 2017 runway show. It’s not to throw more shade, or say anything that hasn’t already been said, but rather, to talk about two larger problems.

The first is, of course, cultural appropriation and the overarching blindspot of the privilege that occurs outside of a minority. It’s a huge coup that this is becoming less tolerable and acceptable as our society evolves, but I wonder, as the outrage machine continues firing up, when we’ve constructively added to the conversation vs. just made noise.

Designers, artists — all creatives, really — build their collections on reference. There is no art, at least as we know it, without the act of riffing, but the solution isn’t pulling ideas from the sky, shutting ourselves off to the incredibly rich cultures of both yore and now. On the contrary, it’s proper accreditation and more importantly, the second step towards becoming better people, it’s doing something (not just saying something!) to give back to the culture from which you’re borrowing. So here, I speak with our new editorial director, Leslie Price, who wrote the original Man Repeller story on the Marc Jacobs show on what we’re doing, and stuff like that.

As always, this podcast is only as valuable as the feedback you provide, so…

Related Stories:

On Cultural Appropriation, Racism and Fashion’s Blind Spots

Let’s Talk About It: Diversity in Fashion

MR Round Table: We Need to Talk About Race

A Letter from Leandra: We’ve Updated Our Mission Statement

Monocycle is edited by Nicholas Quazzy Alexander; Logo illustration by Kelly Shami; Photograph by The Washington Post via Getty Images.


Leandra M. Cohen

Leandra M. Cohen is the founder of Man Repeller.

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