Gone are the days when pin-straight hair was the only hair represented as beautiful in the fashion world. The impression was the best hair was straight hair, leaving many ethnic communities to seek hair treatments that would alter their wavy, curly, and kinky locks into the flat, straight hair of iconic models.
Cindy Crawford, Heidi Klum, Kate Moss: all beautifully rocking the straight look with an occasional va-va-voom blowout offering a luscious curl. Straight represented the only fashionable look. African American models like Iman and Tyra Banks showcased relaxed and flat ironed pin-straight hair. It seemed this myopic view of fashionable hair would never end, but then something curious happened.
The Birth of a Fashion Trend
A shift began to occur in black communities in the early 2000s; it was such a momentous shift, it was noted by cultural anthropologists. The people whose locks were not straight were beginning to show off their natural hair, they were beginning to say goodbye to chemicals and hot flat irons, and were beginning to embrace every different facet of their natural curls, waves, or kinks. The movement gradually went mainstream and expanded to other ethnic communities – Latinas, biracial women, and others. Even Anglo women who were born with curls and waves instead of straight hair were seeing the beauty of rocking their natural hair.
The Au Naturel hair movement was, and is, more than just wearing your God-given locks; it’s recognizing that fashion trends start with individuals who create trend-defining movements, as much as the other way around. It’s illuminating the pressure of having to assimilate into unrealistic one-style-fits-all hair couture. It’s freeing the fashion binds, and allowing the entire world to dine at the fashion table.
Was anyone even paying attention to the garments in this years’ New York Fashion Week? It would appear not. The natural hair looks were all anyone could seem to talk about.
Fashion Reflects Life in 2016
The fashion industry recognized the need to get on board with the new natural looks; society shifted what is beautiful so much, it was either hop on board or get off the boat. They did not disappoint. They showed up in 2016 fashion weeks all across the world. Fashion designers’ models were embracing their natural textures. What you were born with was what you strutted down the catwalk, and it was beautiful. This ranged from the short afros featured in Alexandra Wang and Carolina Herrera to the voluminously long and flowy curls of Sophie Theallet and Ralph Lauren. Pin-straight and beachy waves were also featured in these shows, but were done so solely by the women who worked them naturally.
The Year of the Individual
Embracing natural hair has been a truly beautiful thing to watch, and it’s expanded the fashion world in more ways than one. For those who think this whole natural vibe will stifle your creative expression when it comes to your hair, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Rocking natural locks doesn’t mean you only get to wear your hair the way it wants to lay. It simply means that you work with the texture you have. Balmain hair extensions are proof of this creative expression; they come in all different textures to seamlessly mesh with your natural hair and create some really great looks. The only difficulty you’ll face is deciding which hairstyle is going to be your go-to look in 2016.
Top Look for 2016 Brides
The trend to natural hair certainly doesn’t exclude those with straight hair. The top look for brides in 2016, as well as a look Kendall Jenner rocked on the runway – is the sleek high and tight ponytail wrapped in Balmain Hair extensions. This look exudes power and confidence. It puts focus where focus should be during your big day – on your face.
Subtle, natural-toned makeup with strong eyebrows take the look even further, and the best thing about it is that it can also work with virtually any outfit. You don’t have to be a bride for the high ponytail!
Curls, Curls, Curls
Keep it all the way funky and natural with a blown out afro, bringing it back to the 70s. This look has been a favorite among African American celebrities as of late, from Solange Knowles rocking the short afro to the O magazine cover with Oprah sporting an afro the size of a peacock’s feathers. Don’t forget Rhianna, who combined her trendy red hair with her afro look. These women show you the different ways you can make this simple look your own. Add in extensions for a little extra volume, dye your afro red or blonde, or add in steel blue-gray babylights.
The beachy/wavy “I woke up like this” look is booming in 2016, which is perfect for women who don’t have naturally straight hair, but who also don’t really have curly hair. They’re in this weird middle ground where they often feel the need for a flat iron or a perm, but honestly need neither. The beach waves look is perhaps one of the most unintentional of hairstyles. The texture is on point, it requires little maintenance, and it goes perfectly with any outfit. The wavy look focuses on the natural flow of your hair, and it offers an effortless beauty that can be kicked up a notch with extensions, color, and hair accessories.
A hot look of 2016 for naturally curly hair of all textures is all about length. The look to have right now is long, natural hair. Women all over the globe are discussing their hair growth progress on social media. These looks are voluminous and bouncy, and feature each individual’s texture.
Beyonce, Kelly Rowland, Ciara, and more are rocking this longer style. New York Fashion week’s runways were filled with models walking the cat with this hair. The best part about this look is you can have it even before your hair reaches your desired length. You can add more fullness just by using hair extensions that match your texture and color. This versatile look can be dyed and styled to express your individuality, or you can embrace the more natural trend and just let it flow.
Curly bobs, bantu knots, and braids of all sizes have also made their way into what’s trendy in 2016. What’s your go-to look this year?