One Thousand and One African Cornrows

by Estel Vilaseca,

Trenzitas africanas |

Alexander McQueen second line Fall Winter 2013-2014 campaign shoot by David Sims confirms an emerging trend. With their strenght and exotism, the African cornrows and its multiple variations will take advantage the upcoming seasons in the fashion world to the more romantic Deutsch and French proposals. Now that we have learned how to make a fishtail braid we must take the diy to the next level.

Trenzitas africanas |

That kind of hairstyle cross the white line (and burgeois) in 1979 thanks to Bo Derek. She appeared in “10” film with braided hair becoming one of the first white women to do it. A designer that has been relevant for a continuos mix between urban and ethnic inspirations has been Jean Paul Gaultier. Tattoos, jewellery, and of course, African cornrows have been present on and off during his career. With the present nineties revival that kind of aesthethic comes back. The looks in the McQueen advertisment retake the inspiration of that long term trend in its more urban side.

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African cornrows can be seen as well an statement to recognize the roots. During seventies the movement Black is Beautiful encouraged Afro-Americans to recover their natural hair, free of treatment in a gesture to keep away forever the idea of “bad hair”. In Thirsty Roots blog we can read that at the end of the XIX century to have a “good hair” was a prerequisite to be addmited in certain schools, chuches and business networks. In African website Loxo you’ll find great inspirational vintage pictures full of great hairsyles.

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In order to take some ideas and start to full our head of cool braides here a moodboard we did with some nice pictres we found online. From left to right clockwise: 1/ So Yoon Lym illustration. She was inspired with the amazing hairstyle of her students. 2/ Beautiful image sourced in a Tush Magazine editorial. 3/ Long, wild and beautiful braids of Anais Pouliot in All Magazine. 4/ A fun tutorial via Opening Ceremony. 5/ Wonderland fashion feature. 6/ Seen on London Fashion Week.

In youtube you’ll find thousands of tutorials of how to do it. We share here a couple of them. We are still learning, but it seems that it works better with wet hair. And even they explain how to do it by yourself, we are sure you’ll  have a lot of fun doing a “braid party” with some friends.


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Estel Vilaseca Barcelona Editor
"No one belongs here more than you"