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BN Hot Topic: Stella McCartney’s Ankara Collection at PFW – Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation?



Fashion designer Stella McCartney who recently showcased her Spring/Summer 2018 collection at Paris Fashion Week has been accused of exploiting African culture with the use of Ankara prints.

A lot of people are irked that the London-based designer didn’t give appropriate credit to African designers worse still the catwalk showcase only had one African model.

Twitter was abuzz with controversial comments over the brand’s use of ankara fabrics to create dresses, jumpsuits, and tops. Some people were completely upset, while some others came to the defense of the brand saying Ankara isn’t of African heritage, to begin with.

Check out some of the comments on twitter

Media Personality Zainab Balogun however, had a different opinion. She hinted that people should stop complaining about what they have ignored over time.

So BellaNaijarians, what are your thoughts?

Should Stella McCartney’s use of Ankara be seen as cultural appropriation or appreciation?

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Estrop

Mary Edoro is a seasoned writer, editor and digital creator. She has developed her skill by writing for renowned websites, using words to express her love for fashion and is quickly solidifying herself as one to watch in the industry both in fashion editorial and as an influencer in her own right. Follow her on Instagram @themaryedoro BellaNaija Beauty: [email protected] @bellanaijabeauty BellaNaija Style: @bellanaijastyle


  1. meah

    October 5, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Dear Bn, I personally dont think there is anything “hot”about this topic as this appropriation cry is sooo lame. African designers use all sorts of un-African prints to make clothes and the sky hasn’t fallen. A lot of us wear weaves in all colours and textures which is obviously not African and its cool but a white folk gets braids and people start to holler. Everyone needs to chill and just go with the flow. In any case, this is fashion: everybody borrows from everybody. End of story.

    • Fleur

      October 5, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      I don’t comprehend why this is an issue. when we use their fabrics, I don’t hear them calling for credit. what am I missing? pls educate.

  2. True Talk

    October 5, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Should be the Indonesians who should be vexing. The Dutch made a cheap version of their fabric and sold it to West Africans….

    • momo

      October 5, 2017 at 6:56 pm

      exactly!!! the ankara fabric was made by whites (dutch) and sold to us …we actually have traditionally made fabrics ..such as batik,akwette, aso oke, that cloth the Tivs of Benue wear etc we don’t promote them at all….

  3. Funmilola

    October 5, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Bellanaija people, why didn’t you post the news that trended recently about one so called designer who wanted to sell her Ankara jacket/over all for 70k?
    70k ooo!
    and zainab balogun wants an average Nigerian to patronise our expensive designers…..let the rich folks patronize them abeg.

  4. artklub

    October 5, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Frankly, I’m bored of ankara and how its used as some emblem of Nigeria/African creativity. How can you wrap a pillow with ankara fabric, or make some pants or westernized dress and praise it like its some kind of unique invention. It reflects laziness as a designer at this point.

    • artklub

      October 5, 2017 at 5:50 pm

      That all said, I like these Stella McCartney volumes/cuts/proportions. Looks modern and hip. Yeah I would!

    • Ec

      October 6, 2017 at 7:01 am

      Artklub. You are missing the point with your lazy points. We can be as creative as we want with Ankara. Be proud of it.

  5. zeeeeby

    October 5, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Ankara isn’t even Originally from Africa. Our local fabric include, Kijipa, Aso Oke, Akosombo, Adire, akwette….. We need to inform ourselves before we start getting angry. I dont see a lot of people buying and sewing adire…..

  6. Eric

    October 5, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    It’s sad that the textile industry in Nigeria is almost dead. A lot of the fabrics bought in Nigeria are imported but the truth is Africans did make the Ankara fabric popular and we do actually promote it by wearing it where ever we are. But I disagree with Zainab when she says someone else is shinning a light on it because Africans wear the bloody Ankara all the time. All the fashion shows I have seen from GTBank fashion week and the likes all have Ankara infused pieces on the run way, a lot better than what this Stella Mc-wetin be her name showcase up there.

  7. AAnna

    October 5, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Ankara is definitely not from Africa.
    Stella McCartney used Dutch wax’s fabric, which has never belonged to us.
    It is us Africans who are making others rich, by consuming their product in high volume. Sometimes we are even ashamed of wearing our own prints.

    I think her ankara designs are so average and simple that every seamstress can replicate it or even sow better and more beautiful ones.
    I don’t see what so special about them.

  8. Hmm

    October 5, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    If you feel pained about Stella’s use of ankara fabric, then sew tweed with an African twist Be creative for the harmattan season.

  9. zzzzzzzzzzz

    October 6, 2017 at 10:11 am

    So one cannot see the good in another culture and use it will be called appropriation. Stella Mccarthy use away

  10. olorire

    October 8, 2017 at 6:03 am

    this isn’t culture appropriation anything! ‘ankara’ prints is a dutch thing… even George, lace etc they are all foreign to us nothing African about it…rven damask google them and their origins. I stumbled on an old philipino picture with a lady wearing glee and m like this is not an African thing!

  11. olorire

    October 8, 2017 at 6:04 am

    I am so happy with this comments!!! wise people at least we all know

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