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Texture On The Runway Shows The Versatility Of Curls And Kinks At NYFW
When Michelle Breyer started NaturallyCurly.com in 1998 along together with her friend and business partner Gretchen Heber, that they had no idea how enormous the web site would become. Nearly 20 years later, the positioning is representing for the community that supported them during New York Fashion Week with the Texture on the Runway show. The showcase, which first launched in 2012, celebrates the great thing about textured hair whether it’s curly, kinky, coily, wavy, loced or braided. “It got its start after a couple of years of me coming [to New York], covering fashion week, and just being disappointed year after year that there isn’t any diversity of any kind on the runway. It was usually different variations on hair parted down the middle — in a bun, in a ponytail, straight,” Breyer told Allure ahead of the show. “Probably the most interesting styles were in the audience and the people covering it.” Frustration at the lack of diversity so irked Breyer that she decided to be the change she wanted to see and create her own runway event.
Even from its humble beginnings at City Winery, the show had an incredible turnout. “We had people around the block,” she said. Thursday night marked five years since Textures on the Runway’s debut, and no surprises here — it was bigger and better than ever. This time, NaturallyCurly teamed up with Sally Beauty and a few hair-care brands (Cantu, CurlFormers, Carol’s Daughter, Creme of best brush for wigs Nature, Mielle Organics and Shea Moisture) that cater to textured strands for a runway display that excited the senses. And instead of sticking to industry folks and influencers, they extended the invitation to the consumers. In any case, they’re the ones who use the products.
“This whole industry has been driven by consumers. It has been a grass roots industry. Consumers [were] getting fed up that they couldn’t find products for them, so they created them themselves,” Breyer explained. “Now, they’re some of essentially the most exciting products in the marketplace.”
Breyer and Karonda Cook, director of merchandising at Sally Beauty were keen on putting an emphasis on inclusiveness and their diverse customer base for this particular show, opting to include men and kids on the catwalk. “Men are as much in tune with their beauty needs now more than ever. Then you may have this whole men’s grooming and this beard trend,” Cook said. The McClure twins, the biracial sisters who’re a viral hit thanks to the adorable (and always hilarious) videos their mother posts of their conversations, took the runway as well. Their inclusion speaks to a greater moment in society as well as their customer base. “With the entire browning of America, there’s a whole lot of mixed races and products which might be catered to a variety of hair textures,” Cook pointed out.
The show itself occurred at Gotham Hall in Midtown New York, a grand venue that matched the grandeur of the hair looks that came down the runway. There were voluminous, fluffly afros that seemed to take up the entire room, mile-long box braids elaborately adorned with metallic flourishes, some twisted and became head-turning updos. Braids were paired with ‘fros, ‘fro hawks were uplifted by cornrows, half-up, half-down ‘dos were given glamor with loose waves. We saw high-top fades, sculptural locs sprinkled with cowrie shells, and braids piled atop the top that looked like an Egyptian queen’s crown. It was truly a testament to the versatility and wonder of textured hair.
“What we’re saying is hair could be the right accessory for fashion and it doesn’t take away from fashion. It might add to fashion. Our whole show is in regards to the hair coming first,” Breyer said. And indeed, the purpose was made. Her initial goal was to focus on the varied hair textures she saw in her world, to prop them up and shine a light on how aspirational and gorgeous they actually are. While straight hair is beautiful in its own right, Texture on the Runway reminds us all that such beauty comes in lots of forms, and the importance of embracing the precise things that make you beautiful.
“We’re in a time when uniqueness is valued much more. Individuality is valued, especially with the younger generation,” Breyer said.
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