#NYFW Series 1: TEXTURE ON THE RUNWAY 2017
"I refuse to believe that the processed beauty that I see around me is what I have to be."
- Rae Smith
Since 1998, Michelle Breyer and her friend/business partner, Gretchen Heber, decided it was time for natural hair to be showcased and appreciated throughout the general public. By providing a website called NaturallyCurly.com, they offer tips, hairstyles, natural products and more to avoid the hassle of trying to style curly, kinky, loc, braided, straight, wavy hair on a daily basis!
When did "Texture on the Runway" come to light?
In 2012, the two founders decided to bring natural hair appreciation to New York Fashion Week. Not only by showing off different tresses & hairstyles, but by partnering with famous companies within the natural hair community---like Cantu, Dark And Lovely, Shea Moisture, & more! These companies do give away full-product sized items at the runway show, because "We know that beauty is not a one-size fits all approach," says Sally Beauty Director of Merchandising, Karonda Cook, "We have a vast assortment of products and brands for a variety of hair types and textures and solutions for men and children too!"
Considering that many people nowadays are on board during this #naturalhairmovement, it wasn't always like this. Breyer looks back at her previous fashion week experiences & the minimal amount of diversity she saw on the runway. "It got its start after a couple of years of me coming [to New York], covering fashion week, and just being disappointed year after year that there's no diversity of any kind on the runway," says Breyer.
"It was usually different variations on hair parted down the middle--in a bun, ponytail, straight. The most interesting styles were in the audience and the people covering it." Almost 5 years later, NaturallyCurly.com founders teamed up with Sally Beauty, Cantu, Mielle Organics, CurlFormers, Carol's Daughter, Creme of Nature, & Shea Moisture.
Is "Texture on the Runway" making a difference in how people view natural hair?
Of course! Natural hair has always been a part of an everyday accessory or fashion statement. The wide arrangement of styles that you can do with your kinks, curls, coils, locs, & braids are more than I could put into one blog. I believe shows and opportunities like these allow natural hair to be considered a social norm in the workplace & in public.
The question is: Do we really want natural hair to be a social norm? Now, come on. Of course, you want to go places without being judged about your hair being "unkempt" or "messy," but black people have always thrived off of being different & unique in our own culture. We establish movements to provide inclusion, justice, & civil rights in our own communities so we could share the "same" experiences of the majority race. However, while doing this, I can guarantee that we'll never lose sight of who we are.
Where do we go from here?
We need to continue to embrace our natural look--what we were born with, how our natural kinks & curls are supposed to look without consistent manipulation, etc. From #Afropunk to #CurlFest, natural hair is on its way to the top (if it wasn't already!). I'm ready to see what my people plan to do next with our texture celebrations! I'm totally here for this & let's just say that my 3 months post-big chop day is in 11 days (shrinkage is real!). I really couldn't be happier.
Don't forget #NYFW Series 2: First Impressions Video on Wednesday (9/13) will be the next of my blog launch! Please subscribe & stay tuned! You won't want to miss it.