Did Saint Laurent Copy a Senegalese Brand for Its Fall 2017 Collection?

Left: Tongoro's Mburu bag. Photo: @tongorostudio/Instagram Right: A similar style, seen on the Saint Laurent Fall 2017 runway. Photo: Imaxtreetongorostudio/Instagram Appropriate: A equivalent design, observed on the Saint Laurent Fall 2017 runway. Picture: Imaxtree”/>

Remaining: Tongoro’s Mburu bag. Picture: @tongorostudio/Instagram Appropriate: A equivalent design, observed on the Saint Laurent Fall 2017 runway. Picture: Imaxtree

On Thursday afternoon, a tipster introduced to our attention that Saint Laurent’s 2017 runway clutches are eerily equivalent to the operate of Tongoro, a Senegalese brand launched by Ifren Media Group founder and owner Sarah Diouf previous calendar year. Paris-born Diouf launched the brand’s ecommerce internet site in May perhaps 2016, and moved to Senegal in November of previous calendar year to operate factors from there right. The line is targeted on boosting retail production in Western Africa and celebrating the continent. As you can see in the images earlier mentioned and under, there are some distinct similarities among Tongoro’s editorial imagery and that of Saint Laurent’s not too long ago-debuted catwalk demonstrate.

The extensive clutch in problem seems to take direct inspiration from Tongoro’s Mburu Bag: named just after the phrase for “bread” in the Wolof language. Priced among 60 and 90 euros, you can find no question that Saint Laurent’s style would retail for at minimum 10 times that, should really the style household choose to really generate it. “I could not imagine my eyes,” Diouf wrote in an e mail to Fashionista. “This is our bag. A fantastic duplicate of Tongoro’s MBURU bag, our signature accessory. Where else have you observed a 10 x 60 cm extensive baguette bag prior to?” A extensive clutch is not a new style in the business, but the form and texture of Saint Laurent’s new piece bears an uncanny resemblance to Tongoro’s.

“Tongoro is a younger, manufactured in Africa model I commenced previous calendar year to develop the textile production business here at home, in Dakar, Senegal, and the MBURU bag is our signature piece as it signifies an crucial component of our culture and embodies the extremely essence of our dignity: the skill to wake, get out and struggle for your self,” explained Diouf, who is 50 %-Senegalese. “Youth employment in Senegal is a authentic concern foreigners come here and see all these younger guys on the streets attempting to provide them anything at all, and it can be not that they’re not educated, but there are not enough work positions to fill. Nevertheless you see them every morning, smiling, working, fighting for a dollar — selling cashews, toys, fruits or cellphone credit history — mainly because to hustle is to hold going despite the activities.”

Another colorway of the bag in question. Photo: Imaxtree

A further colorway of the bag in problem. Picture: Imaxtree

In an business that just gave lots of small-known black designers some shine with an show committed to their operate at F.I.T., the need to go on supplying visibility to labels like Diouf’s is a lot more significant than ever. She posed the problem: “Am I big enough to struggle in opposition to a style establishment like YSL?” And her reaction? “Possibly not, but my voice is, and I have to use what I have to make a assertion that would not stay unnoticed.”

Diouf cites this as a further case in point of cultural appropriation: a veritable plague on the business that has been shown by some of fashion’s largest models. “For all those who do not comprehend, it can be like operating on a project and having an ‘F’ and seeing anyone duplicate you and having an ‘A-plus’ credit history for your operate.” We attained out to Saint Laurent’s staff for remark, but did not acquire a reaction by press time.

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