According to The Fashion Spot’s bi annual diversity report, the class of models walking the runway in New York, London, Paris and Milan this past September was the most inclusive ever, meaning that for the first time in history, models of colour accounted for 44.8% of runway castings. As a result, the rise in black women walking the runway presented a welcome and much-needed shift in the beauty and hair looks created backstage. And although we’ve seen a slow rise in big fashion brands embracing natural afro hair over the past few years, this September diversity was at an all time high, with black models of all shades, shapes and sizes proudly rocking afros and cornrows on the runway.
And though they’re certainly nothing new, it was the sleek cornrows that really caught our eye. From Peter Pilotto to Prabal Gurung, Roberto Cavalli and Burberry – gone it seems are the days where darker skinned models are forced to fit into unrealistic, caucasian standards of beauty. Natural braids took centre stage, and it looks like the rest of the hair and beauty world is starting to catch up too. ‘We’ve noticed a real upsurge in cornrows lately,’ says Sinead, owner of Lush London Salon in Ealing; ‘weaves used to be the most booked service but we have definitely noticed an increase in braids and cornrows’ she explained.
If you’re feeling inspired to go back to your roots and start rocking a more natural look, Sinead also had some expert tips on how to maintain your new braids and keep them looking extra fresh. ‘Moisturization is key. Apply castor oil directly to the scalp to ensure it stays conditioned, this will also help to promote hair growth too. Invest in a good braid spray to add shine and freshness to your style. If the ends of your braids become matted or lacklustre you can dip them into boiling hot water – this will strengthen the hair shafts and make your braids look fresh again. And most importantly, always sleep with a head scarf on at night!’
By Rebecca HoffnungBook the look