Natural Hair in Fashion


by Tiffany of Natural Hair in the Media

Natural hair and fashion! What could be better? Thanks a tweet by SheaMoisture, I saw this summary on natural hair in the fashion world. In this article, author Marjon Carlos details the increasing trend of well-known black models choosing to wear their natural hair on the runway.

Among the shout-outs are models Alek Wek and Noemi Lenoir. Can I just say that it’s definitely refreshing to see an article like this in Vogue Italia? Update: Tata Naka was actually first featured in Vogue UK. Thanks to a tip from reader, you can go here and read about their inspiration for the line.

Inspired by Motown, the Autumn/Winter 2012-13 Tata Naka collection is shown here being unveiled during London’s Fashion Week.


As if by rite of passage, the Black model archive is filled with trials of hapharzard handling of one’s hair. Left in the hands of hairstylists deaf to the temperment of Black tresses, Black fashion pioneers have recounted tales of their coils and strands being stretched to their breaking, frayed ends; scalps carelessly permed, harshly scorched, battered with color, and left to be restored by weaves, wigs, and the shearing of frazzled locks.

It is uplifting then to see the newest pack of Black models storming the catwalks in full embrace of their natural hairstyles, from cropped Afros, flat tops, to buzzed scalps–and in turn being embraced by the industry that has typically approached Black hair with skepticism and harsh critique.

As Canadian model, Herieth Paul’s, almost ubiquitous presence on the top Fall 2012 catwalks of Burberry Prorsum, Diane Von Furstenberg, Yigal Azourel, Costello Tagliapietra shown, the model’s coiffed ‘fro isn’t for a second deterring her imminent ascent. Then there is of course Ajak Deng’s signature buzz that has marked her career, creating a striking, anomalous silhouette along the runways of Suno, Roksanda Ilincic, and Issa this season, as well as with her turns on couture’s Spring 2012 stages just last month. Newcomer Akuol de Mabior, the beautiful offspring of Sudan’s former Vice President, walked for Jasper Conran and Louise Gray under a crown of curls that bore a striking resemblance to the very style lauded actress, Viola Davis, made famous at Sunday’s Academy Awards. While Flaviana Mataka, Nana Keita, and Elyce Cole reimagined the Afro in its various forms for Vivienne Westwood Red, Ashish, and William Okpo, respectively.

As I read through the article, I am struck by many things. This includes the author’s mention of Viola Davis’ hair at the Oscar Awards. Was she suggesting that her appearance at the show with a TWA made natural hair “famous?” It was unclear to me, maybe something got lost in translation …

Was it a pivotal moment in the culture and politics of black hair? Sure, imo. Why? Because a well-known Hollywood actress rocked natural hair at such an important event. Whether or not she intended to, Davis probably increased the visibility of natural hair in the media significantly. It may mean that more people will start paying attention to (and perhaps embracing) natural hair.

To the author’s suggestion that “this reoccurring presence of natural Black hair on the runways certainly mirrors and could be correlated to the natural Black hair craze that is currently taking place off the runway,” I *nod* emphatically in response. Not only are celebrities like Solange Knowles wearing their natural hair, but everyday women are too. Women just like me and you. And to all the black models with natural hair: You. Better. Work.

Go to Vogue Italia website to read the full article.


Have you noticed natural hair in commercials, advertisements, on the runway? Is natural hair more than a trend? Why do you think there are more naturals in the media?


4 responses »

  1. all of those models are beautiful and helping break barriers for the widespread acceptance (and embracing) of natural hair in the US and Europe!


  2. They all look fabulous. To me it’s now normal to see natural hair in print ads and tv because I see it so often. I think it’s less money for the advertisers budgets because most naturals don’t want anyone messing up their hair so they would do their own; see how they save money lol


  3. On one hand, they are more accepting of the natural state of African (American) hair which is why it is showing up everywhere, but on the other hand they are using it to connect to us in a way that will get us to use our massive purchasing power. The fashion industry and other industries (ie everything from food to hair products – go figure! HA!) are all targeting us. They know that we will spend money to look good and our wanting to be accepted for who we are touches on a visceral need all of humanity possesses. For me, the thing is – I am not buying any product JUST because you put the face of a Black woman who has natural hair on it. It has to be so much more than that, and that is not what they are banking on. I’ll just be happy about seeing myself and for my daughter to be able to see herself reflected in the ads and fashion spreads and keep my money in my pocket… LOL!


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