BY: KABRENA ROBINSON
Fashion, flare, and fierceness with a touch of Afrocentric style from a community of the most creative designers and stylists across North America was what the Textur’d Hair and Beauty Show brought to the table.
Formally known as Toronto Natural Hair Show, the annual occasion now in its twelfth staging kick-started on Saturday, September 23rd at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto with an evening of runway fashion and entertainment followed by a full day of informative workshops, local vendors, panel discussions and other activities on Sunday, September 24th.
According to organizers, the main focus of the Textur’d Hair & Beauty Show is to “reshape perceptions within the community of natural hair while emphasizing its beauty to dissolve racial stereotypes”. The family event, afforded visitors the opportunity to learn about various styling tips for hair, beauty, holistic health and fashion.
In the early inception of the show, organizers found the need for a platform that showcased the diversity and beauty of natural hair specifically among women of colour in Toronto while simultaneously providing exposure for small business owners and brands. This year, the focus of the show was geared towards inclusivity by incorporating “all hair characteristics that stem from the African roots”.
“The main focus was to make sure that each and every kind of texture and kind of beauty was promoted for our organizing campaign called A New Hera,” said creative director for the event Rochelle Reign in an interview. “So, it’s not just about kinks or coils or stuff like that. It’s more about creating a community to embrace that beauty that grows for your head”.
Reign added that there are still ongoing stigmas and negative perceptions of natural hair – that ties into most women not having adequate knowledge on how to care for or even style their hair. This was examined in a study early this year which found that black women suffer more anxiety around hair issues because of the existing bias towards textured hair. However, the results indicated that this bias is a learned behavior that can be unlearned.
The Textur’d Hair and Beauty show is one of Toronto’s most prominent platforms geared towards eliminating this bias and highlighting the beauty of textured hair.
Saturday’s fashion show was nothing short of entertaining. The evening featured captivating styles and fashion on display, some accompanied by loud cheers from onlookers. An impromptu performance from emcees Nicole Cassanova and Femi Lawson during a technical glitch provided the comedic relief of the evening and though the event was centered around women’s fashion and styles, a brief moment of male model ‘eye-candy’ was seemingly the icing on top of an enthralling occasion for most female attendees.
“For me, it was a great experience” expressed Monique, a spectator at the event. “It was my first time attending and I got to witness all the great fashion sense that black creators and women have. It’s also amazing to see from the male’s perspective how to do hair. What really amazed me the most was the different hairstyles and the different things that black women can do with their hair our hair is so fantastic.”
The show exhibited a wide variety of fashion lines and hairstylists. Those included were Anakar Beads, Aisha Loobie, Hair by Glenna, Modisch Couture, TLC Natural Hair, London Ivy, Roots Rock Rebelle, Gésaré Regalia, Beni Boo Atelier, The Nappy Hutt Salon, Hayah Beauty Salon and Locks n Chops.
One of the designers in the show, Tosha Groves owner of the fashion line Roots Rock Rebelle, said her pieces seen on the runway, all made from crochet styling, was inspired by the major theme of the evening which was emphasizing the beauty of natural hair.
“Natural hair should always be seen as beautiful, it is naturally art,” she said in an interview. “Everyone of us the hair grows out of our head differently, our hair is art its unique, its energy.”
Nicole Cassanova, one of the emcees for the show also added that it was more important that attendees take away an essential message from the event.
“I think the take back from the entire event is just how beautiful natural hair is,” she said. “It’s not just an afro puff or locs or braids, there are so many things that we can do as black women with our hair and I think it was just like sprinkles of black girl magic all over the stage tonight so I just want people to walk away knowing that it’s beautiful.”