It’s no secret that Black culture remains the blueprint for many of the trends popular today. Whether that be fashion, music, dance, beauty, creative content, or language, Black people created new and exciting things for everyone to consume… only for Black creators to often not be given any credit or for their product to be popularized by non-Black creators or celebrities. Even our bodies have become trends, with Black features like big lips, big butts and curvier bodies becoming the desired look for Instagram companies, and social media in general.
At this point, it’s incredibly evident that fashion companies take Black creations and claim it as their own as a way to create social media frenzy that would result in increased media attention for them. In 2017, Gucci admitted to taking influence from Dapper Dan’s design after Twitter posted a side by side comparison. Dapper Dan is credited for contributing to Hip Hop culture and creating fashion that took influence from luxury brands that largely only marketed to white consumers and reinvented it into something better, something attainable to all people.
It’s always incredibly frustrating to see non-Black, often white, people stealing Black products or ideas, and profiting off of it. People will sell Black creations as new to their non-Black audience, often for higher prices. One example is when two white women went on Shark Tank and tried to sell bonnets as a new invention called “Kookn Kap”.
A similar incident happened again in 2019 when Sarah Marantz, founder of NiteCap, did an interview with Fashion Magazine where she took credit for the bonnet and sold her “creations” for $98. Last time I checked, Black beauty stores have been selling the same thing for years… for $95 and less.
When the Black community voices their anger over Black inventions/creations being stolen, we are largely ignored or given mediocre responses. Fast fashion companies like Fashion Nova and Pretty Little Thing have been called out before for stealing from Black designers, and yet, they continue to do it.
Recently, Pretty Little Thing stole a Black designer’s creation and completely claimed it as their own.
Pretty Little Thing is bold as f*ck for trying this shit with me after contacting me to be a “brand ambassador” very sloppy decision to make in this climate. pic.twitter.com/109OCE8Klw
— FAUXYBROWN. (@_tdionne) June 24, 2020
History has a habit of leaving out or writing out black designers and creators who have contributed to culture. With non-Black people being credited for what Black people have been doing for centuries and reclaiming it as their own, Black people have a right to be angry whenever our contributions are overlooked and only popularized when non-Black people do it. This is why it is so important to support Black businesses and especially, independent creators.
Black creation is often the inspiration for these fashion brands, it’s why they continue to get caught stealing from Black designers. Brands and influencers continue to capitalize off of Black people by stealing from Black craft, and it’s extremely disappointing to see how they continue to get away with it.
Featured Image via Samantha Sophia on Unsplash