As you all know, this month is Black History Month and I love when social media platforms use this time to inform others of all the amazing milestones that our people have reached.The fashion Industry was a industry we were not always welcomed in. Even though the majority of today’s trends were created by Black people, we are constantly fighting for ownership and recognition. This month I want to give recognition to those who have paved the way for us and encouraged us to be comfortable in our Black skin and rock our own Black hair!
Victoria’s Secret has been in the headlines lately and not for a good reason. Their sales have declined and they have been called out for not being inclusive when it comes to their runway. In the 90’s Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell ruled the Victoria’s Secret runway, but after their reign I noticed that there was a decline in Black models to represent their brand. The few that we were able to see were amazing, but they seemed to look the same, especially when it comes to their hair. Now don’t get me wrong. I am a huge supporter of protective styles, but seeing these models with long Brazilian bundles flowing down their back seemed a little bit redundant.
In 2016 we received a pleasant surprise during the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show when Angolan model, Maria Borges strutted her stuff in her natural hair. Everyone was so amazed to see a Black women without extensions walking down the runway with just as much confidence as everyone else. This was a FIRST for Victoria’s Secret and after the show it seemed like the company was more open to having Black women with natural hair represent their brand.
There were 44 models that walked in the show and Maria was one of eight Black models that wore her natural hair. Maria Borges stated that, “It was the most liberating and sexiest moment of my life.” She shed light on how there is sometimes some discrimination backstage when it comes to having stylist that are able to style Black hair comfortably. This is often the reason why models resort to wearing extensions because it is easier to manage.
Borges broke down that barrier and I have been seeing a lot more Black women rock their natural hair on the runway. It is just a constant a reminder that our Black is Beautiful.
By Brittanie Sturdivant, Sophomore, Open Campus Parsons School of Design