The “Head Wrap” Trend : Africa in View

On the history of the ‘head wrap ,’ according to Helen Bradly Griebel , “THE AFRICAN AMERICAN head wrap holds a distinctive place in the history of American dress both for its longevity and for its potent signification’s. It endured the travail of slavery and never passed out of fashion. The head wrap represents far more than a piece of fabric wound around the head. This distinct cloth head covering has been called variously “head rag,” “head-tie,” “head handkerchief,” “turban,” or “head wrap.” I use the latter term here.
African head rag

The head wrap usually completely covers the hair, being held in place by tying the ends into knots close to the skull. As a form of apparel in the United States, the head wrap has been exclusive to women of African descent.
African Style Headwrap Hat Vest Stole Womens Vogue by patternshop, Model Geli (Cameroon), Ghanaian Model Lauriel Frumpong Headwrap

The head wrap originated in sub-Saharan Africa, and serves similar functions for both African and African-American women. In style, the African-American woman’s head wrap exhibits the features of sub-Saharan aesthetics and worldview. In the United States, however, the head wrap acquired a paradox of meaning not customary on the ancestral continent. During slavery, white overlords imposed its wear as a badge of enslavement. Later it evolved into the stereotype that whites held of the “Black Mammy” servant. The enslaved and their descendants, however, have regarded the head wrap as a helmet of courage that evoked an image of true homeland-be that ancient Africa or the newer homeland, America. The simple head rag worn by millions of enslaved women and their descendants has served as a uniform of communal identity; but at its most elaborate, the African-American woman’s head wrap has functioned as a “uniform of rebellion” signifying absolute resistance to loss of self-definition.”

Significantly, as the day goes by and the world experiences diverse transformations in every area but most amazingly in fashion and style , we have seen loads of ‘back-in-the-days’ trend ( 70s ands 80s ) come back to existence ( but of course with modern-day touches and structure ) . Just like we have seen the come back of trends like the ‘cold-shoulder,’ ‘the bell-sleeve,’ ‘the bell-bottoms’ etc., the head wrap has also been gaining a come back right from 2013 when we saw designers like ; Marc Jacobs , Luisa Beccaria , Max Mara , Dolce & Gabbana, etc., embrace the trend and sent models down the run way donning head wraps.

70s Head Scarf

Diana Ross Head Wraps

Diana Ross headwrap

Grace Jones Head Scarves

Grace Jones headscarf

Marc by Marc Jacob head scarf

Marc by Marc Jacob headscarf

Dolce & Gabbana Milan Fashion Week Spring 2016 Head Scarves

Dolce Gabbana Milan Fashion Week Spring 2016 Head Scarf

Now, fast track to 2016, in the African scene ( most significantly ), we now constantly see fashion/style enthusiasts, style bloggers, trend followers, African designers and of course almost everyone who dares to rock it, embrace the head wrap trend not just to cover up messy hair or protect the hair from the sun, but as a very stylish fashion ornament and statement piece. We see the head wraps coming in all kinds of African prints and designs being tied or knotted in diverse styles.

African headwraps

Nigerian Gele Headwrap

Nigerian gele headwrap

So, if you are not already rocking the trend , please feel free to enjoy the very cultural and stylish staple called the “head wrap” as you can choose any print you so desire. And more interestingly, these head wraps ( no matter the fabric or print ) can be rocked with any outfit of your choice, be it a casual jeans and top or a formal attire or a chic bohemian , whatever style you choose, just style it , own it and rock it with confidence .

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