At Sao Paulo Fashion Week, a runway look has lit a fire beneath Facebook and Twitter users who have branded it 'racist and embarrassing'.

The look, created by designer Ronaldo Fraga for his SS13 collection, utilised wire wool to portray a faux-Afro effect. However, Brazilian social media users deemed it offensive and in poor taste in a country that has long suffered with racial imbalances.

One user who commented on an online news article recalled his past of his hair being compared to wire wool and said that the portrayal brought back memories of the teasing.

However, Marcos Costa - the makeup artist who co-designed the wigs - said on Facebook that the comparison was supposed to highlight the beauty of African-type hair and subvert prejudice, asking "Why do black people need to straighten their hair? They are beautiful".

A Twitter user rebutted the explanation, saying that if the designer thought black hair to be beautiful, he shouldn't have used so many white models.

Brazilian designers have come under fire in the past for their use of white models, and in 2009 the organisers of Sao Paolo Fashion Week came to a deal with prosecutors that ensures 10% of the models in each show are of African or indigenous descent.

What do you think of the look? Do you find it offensive or is it sincere artistic design?

See the show here. Leave us your comments below!