Walking into a room full of women with flawless curls and natural styles is an indescribable feeling. Some wore articulated braids and twisted updos, others left their curls exposed and falling. Every woman confidently wore wavy, curly, kinky, curly, cuddly, and localized styles, as she liked. The event Texture on the Runway in Atlanta, organized by NaturallyCurly in collaboration with Smooth ‘n Shine, had a festive atmosphere. Texture on the Runway, which started in 1998, was designed by Michelle Breyer and Gretchen Heber to celebrate natural hair.
Texture on the Runway has been frustrated by poor representation on the runways for almost 20 years and has created its own league with a runway that shows breathtaking natural styles in all their glory. This year, star stylist Larry Sims, who has worked with everyone from Gabrielle Union to Zendaya, SZA and others, created beautiful, naturally curly styles at the show. Breyer moderated the event together with Smooth ‘n Shine’s brand ambassador, Nikia Phoenix. Textures on the catwalk are about more than just hair – it’s a nod to natural hair and how powerful life is when you get involved with who you were born with.
This is what the leaders of this movement say.
Why runway texture is so important
Can you tell me the story of how texture on the runway was invented?
MICHELLE BREYER: When I started reporting on New York Fashion Week for NaturallyCurly a decade ago, I was blown away by the creativity that I saw on the catwalk about fashion. But as I covered more shows, I realized that there was a lack of variety on the runway. The models were almost entirely white and there was hardly a curl or kink to be seen. The people on the runway did not reflect the inclusiveness of the NaturallyCurly community or society as a whole.
I remember talking to one of my favorite hairdressers backstage and he apologized – because he knew how desperate I was to see a few curls on an airstrip – "Michelle, I tried to get the designer to do something with texture, but she wasn’t." not interested. "
After returning from the fashion week in February 2011, I thought: Why don’t we create our own runway show and do everything about texture? Our vision was to create a first-class fashion show that enables brands and their hairdressers to put the texture in the foreground – so that the hair determines the fashion and not vice versa. We wanted to give them full control to create their looks – be it Frohawks or long, sandy waves. We believed that if we wanted to make a statement, we had to do our runway show during New York Fashion Week, when all the biggest and best fashion shows were taking place.
Over the past five years, texture and diversity have found their way onto the runway as designers work to better reflect society. We believe that Texture on the Runway has played a role and will continue to do so to ensure that we see our curls and coils as something to celebrate rather than a problem to be solved.
The show resonated with me when you said that you were discouraged not to see a representation on the runways. With important shows like Texture on the Runway you change the narrative. What do you think about advances in diversity?
MB: I definitely think there has been progress. However, if you look at the clothing collections in autumn 2018, the models on the catwalk are far from being representative of society as a whole. It is the exception rather than the rule to see a model that does not match the anglo look with straight hair. It seems like many designers are presenting one or two African American models with natural hair. Some of the best examples of inclusiveness come from newer designers like Threeasfour.
When it comes to hair, I still hear the argument that designers want hair to complement fashion rather than distract from it. I understand that. But with Texture on the Runway we have shown how texture in all its beautiful shapes can really enhance a collection and make it more exciting.
The process of getting texture onto the runway in NYFW was a challenge?
MB: We definitely had a lot of first-year naysayers who doubted we could either get the brands to sponsor it, the editors who reported it, or the people who participated. In 2012, the first year of the fair, winning brands as sponsors was definitely a challenge. It was a completely new concept and completely unproven. Many have cost other designers’ shows that they would have attended during Fashion Week to be part of Texture on the Runway, hoping that by participating in an event where the hair and their Brand became more popular in the front and in the middle.
With increasing awareness of the event and a less centralized fashion week, Texture on the Runway has become more important.
Why are the styles shown on Texture on the Runway so important?
I absolutely loved the dynamic styles you designed and created at Texture on the Runway. What was it like to create every style? And how did you go about choosing certain styles to portray every woman so beautifully and accurately?
LARRY SIMS: Smooth ‘n Shine has designed a new product collection for women with curly and straight hair. So I really wanted to make sure I designed styles with products that all types of women could achieve regardless of their hair texture or length. I also wanted each style to represent the history and personality of each model. The women on the show are real women, mothers, career women and students. So I wanted to show looks, the them and address their personalities. It was fun getting to know them all and watching them take on the looks I created.
During the panel, you mentioned how important it is to get involved with your natural texture. What do you advise women who still have problems loving their texture?
LS: I always tell people to find creative ways to use their natural textures. There are so many ways to find out what works for you, but first you have to accept what you were born with. There is always beauty in things that people find imperfect, but all you have to do is dive in and work with what you have to create a look that you feel safe with. If you are unsure which style suits you best, get advice from a professional who can give you recommendations. Also, don’t be afraid to research hair improvements like extensions in their natural texture.
It’s an easy way to get an exaggerated version of yourself while embracing and enhancing your natural texture.
How important is it to you to use your platform to spread the representation in the hair industry?
LS: It is very important to me to be authentic in everything I create. If you look at women and see their self-confidence, whether on a red carpet or on TV / film, you can see when a woman really feels beautiful and at her best. It is my job to maintain this authenticity. I’m really proud of that. When I work with a customer, it is always a collaboration. I work with my clients to develop styles and looks that complement their own personal style.
What products would you recommend to women switching to natural hair and why?
LS: The new Smooth ‘n Shine collections are perfect for natural hair due to the combination of vegetable oils that improve and complement natural textures. The Curl line uses camellia oil and shea butter to moisturize, add volume and fight ruffles while reducing breakage. The Straight Line is a blend of black cumin oil, which is known to strengthen hair, and coconut oil, which stimulates hair growth and gives shine, smoothness and shine to every style. When switching to straight hair, it is important to use products that protect your hair and give you a flawless finish, e.g. B. the Smooth ‘n Shine smoothing polisher ($ 6).
For naturally curly styles, it’s important to add nutrients and products that improve your curl pattern, such as: B. the co-wash feature for smoothing and shining curls ($ 6).
Why is it so important to hug your structured hair??
What’s your story with natural hair?
NIKIA PHOENIX: I grew up with chemically straightened hair. I got relaxed at such a young age that I don’t even remember what my natural hair texture looked like as a child. I discovered my natural hair almost a decade ago when I decided to let the relaxer go. Since I had never known my texture, I had no idea what to expect. Do I have waves, curls, or super-tangled hair? I soon realized that it would be the latter. Like my relationship with myself, I had to get to know my hair and learn to love it.
Part of this process is to accept your hair as it is. I accept it for its thickness and narrow turns and I don’t try to make it something that it isn’t. My hair doesn’t thrive, so I take care of it by hugging afros, two-strand twist-outs and braids. We have fun together as long as I respect my hair where it is.
What is it like to be an ambassador for a brand that celebrates texture and diversity in its truest form?
NP: The brand has been around for over two decades and is evolving to meet the needs of black women today. We want versatility. We want fun. We want to style our hair the way we want and not the way society expects us to. Smooth ‘n Shine stands for free choice and expressiveness, and me am proud to be part of this family.
What do you think of the recent pressures in the media to become more diverse and inclusive?
NP: The intentions matter. Is this a new urge for diversity based on dollars, or do we really see a change of heart? The educated, conscious consumer sees through the smoke and the mirror. Media, advertisers and brands see that black women are trendsetters. You see our purchasing power and want to make money. Women with color know when a company just wants to use a black or brown face for advertising, but is not invested in the people under that skin. True inclusiveness is vertical.
This means that we are an integral part of the process from management to creativity to the consumer. We are not just the customer; We are the president.
What do you advise women who still have problems loving their hair?
NP: Once upon a time, self-love and self-care were not a priority, but now it’s okay, you to excuse. Your hair is more than an accessory. It is an extension of you. You’re the one. Include all of that. Loving your hair means loving you.
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