Backstage at the Studio One Eighty Nine show was an amalgamation of melanin magic. Rosario Dawson and her longtime friend Abrima Erwiah have created a social enterprise that supports African fashion and sustainable practices. On Tuesday afternoon, the brand showed their Spring/Summer 2020 collection and had 60 models to show all their vibrant looks using African artisanal practices. Every model had a different hairstyle and TRESemmé products were utilized to help create the looks.
The Lead Hairstylist for the Spring/Summer 2020 collection was Unilever Hair Expert and Celebrity Hairstylist, Ursula Stephen. Stephen explained, “Typically when you see a show, most of the girls have the same look, even if they don’t have any hair, they are forcing a look into that hair.” This was not the case for this show. She continued, “For us when I walked in and saw the designs, they looked cultural and could be African, and it would be easy to do braids and all that, twists and all that, cultural look, but we wanted to do the opposite. We felt that natural, or loving cultural, doesn’t mean you have to be natural. Natural is a within type of thing.”
While backstage I saw people having their locs retwisted and tied up, models getting mini afro buns, hair being blown out into straight looks.
Stephen explained to me while giving a model a weave, “We just decided we are going to take everybody and enhance their individual look. If you have natural, kinky coarse hair we’re gonna have fun with it! Create a fun shape. Do something different.”
The main hairstyle was reverse cornrows with a bang. She explained, “This is why I flipped the braids. I was like, “You know what? I want to incorporate our culture but I also want to show that we could be elevated and we can still be high fashion with our hair. Who says you can’t have a bang with natural hair? Lemme flip it, turn it around, give her a fringe in the front and a surprise in the back.” This hairstyle is great for the girl with a short to medium afro.
There was SO much hair backstage. Stephen revealed that there were at least two suitcases full, “probably more.” She shared that women should keep extensions in their house to help switch up their look. “You have options and it’s inexpensive. You can get marley twists and you twist it, you pin it on top of you head. Just create shapes.” You can also just add hair to help make your hair bigger. “That’s what we did with Damarys,” Stephen explained. “She’s closing the show and she had a small afro, and I said, ‘You know what? I want your hair to be a lot more dramatic than what it is.’ We just added natural hair and made her fro extra large.”
Black hair is so beautiful and it was illustrated during the Studio One Eighty Nine runway show as each model walked down the runway.
That’s the beauty of black hair. You can actually be a different person every day if you want. You can literally straighten your hair out and have bone straight hair, if you want today. You can wet it and it go back into your natural texture, then you can do braids, you can do twists. Our hair is beautiful! That is really our magic, is our hair. I can be a whole other person and you’ll be like, ‘Where she at?!'”