Texture on the Runway, NaturallyCurly’s signature event that highlights curls and coils, is here to disrupt. The mission is for New York Fashion Week to stop and take notice. And folks did last Thursday, September 6, at New York City’s Gotham Hall. The hairstyles displayed on the catwalk did not follow trends—they set them. What stood out most was that with Black beauty, there is a sense of constant reinvention through accessorizing and styling: integrating butterfly pins and flowers into hair, using gold body paint, and mixing braids into Afros and weaves, for example.
The hairstyles at Texture on the Runway are new takes on techniques that have been passed down for generations. There is less concern with being in fashion, because what this show aims to communicate is that the hair is what makes the outfit. Pekela Riley, lead hairstylist for Creme of Nature (a runway sponsor this year), boldly stated that “our culture has been a part of fashion. Our hair is a part of fashion. It drives fashion forward.”
Sponsored by Sally Beauty, the show marked NaturallyCurly’s twentieth anniversary. Other runway sponsors included Camille Rose Naturals, Cantu, Carol’s Daughter, Mielle Organics, SheaMoisture and The Mane Choice. Each brand put a different spin on traditional Black beauty practices, from braiding techniques to fros to weaves to bantu knots to twist outs. Of course, these various styles have been replicated in other New York Fashion Week shows, but none could come close to the originality and organic nature of the looks at Texture on the Runway.
Mezei Jefferson, the director of education at L’Oréal, hopes that our ability to set trends will create more products made for us. “Now you’re seeing more of that representation in every area. Television and movies—thank you, Black Panther—show that people of color can actually make a profit. Now you’re seeing a lot more companies that are trying to embrace the curly girl and have products that are designed for us. Now that we’re seen as moneymakers, you’re going to see a lot more of it out there.”
Take a look at some of the photos from this year’s Texture on the Runway show below!