I was very honored recently to be asked to go to Vienna to celebrate the infamous Life Ball, Europe's biggest AIDS fundraiser gala. This year saw the 20th Anniversary of retrospect of designers like Thierry Mugler, Gian Franco Ferre, Jean Paul Gaultier, Agent Provocateur and they themed it 'Fire.' The date of the Life Ball, May 19th happened to fall on another important day, that of the 1st annual 'National Natural Hair Meet Up Day in the United States, a day that celebrates women across the USA who have for the last five or so years been encouraging themselves to investigate, gain insight and share information about their natural texture. These meet up groups are held anywhere from 5 to 25 people in private homes to 100-300 in hotel conference halls. They are held by for the most part, but not limited to African-American women, who do not all share the same hair texture but have historically been lumped together by ethnicity. Let me tell you that is a lot of women who now see the truth like a 4-6 week touch up! Now as a brand that is texture specific, hair rules has embraced this philosophy out the gate.
One of the models taking part in the event was Hollis Wakeema and I asked her how she felt about her hair and texture, here is what she said, "As the only model in Vienna with natural hair, I must admit I was a bit nervous about how my kinky hair would be embraced. Would my coils fit into this extravagant fashion scene in which I was surrounded? I know from experience how natural hair sometimes gets the cold shoulder in high fashion. Even when the clients are open to it, I can get stuck with a hairstylist that has never worked with textured hair before and does not know how to bring out it's beauty. Because of this, I did not have high hopes for the team in Vienna. Not knowing who the hairstylist would be, I twisted my hair the night before the show assuming no one would be capable of doing my hair the next day." She went on to say, "I was walking in the Jean Paul Gaultier show, which used 1940's pin-up girls for the hair and make-up inspiration. A natural hair pin-up? Yes! Just as the fashion stylist approached me about flat ironing my hair to fit in with the rest of the models, Dickey spotted me from across the room and came over to save the day. Not only did he and the hair team embrace my texture, he created an amazing, chic, and sexy updo that pleased and surprised everyone. It was such a nice change from my usual twist-out, people couldn't help but notice. The Gaultier styling team loved it, but most of all I loved it! Seeing myself in this new 'do' made me see my hair in a new light. I didn't even know it was capable of such things!"
Hollis parting thoughts to me were "It's kind of ironic that it happened on National Natural Hair Meet-up day. While women of all curl types were meeting, sharing their thoughts and experiences across the USA, there I was thousands of miles away in Vienna, Austria learning things about my natural hair that I never knew. It just goes to show, natural hair has no limits. Maybe now it should be International Natural Hair Meet up Day!"
I have to agree with Hollis, I like the sound of that.