Black hair takes centre stage as London fashion week focuses on identity

A poem written within the aftermath of Syria’s six-day warfare of 1967, the Brixton riots of 1985 and the enjoyment and burden of heritage have all been mirrored in key exhibits at this yr’s London fashion week as political identity took centre stage.

And that was no totally different within the newest present from the British designer Priya Ahluwalia, which put black hair entrance and centre. Afro hair continues to be political: within the workplace, in schools and in a society that doesn’t connect it to identity. It’s even the star of its personal literary satire in Zakiya Dalila Harris’s The Other Black Girl.

‘The film is more a celebration of black hair and inviting people to take time and think about it in a really beautiful way,’ says Priya Ahluwalia. Photograph: Akinola Davies Jr/Mulberry

But for Ahluwalia, who has Nigerian and Indian heritage and whose present was introduced by way of a brief digital presentation, she needed individuals to additionally give it some thought as a factor of magnificence.

“The film is more a celebration [of] black hair and inviting people to take time and think about it in a really beautiful way,” the designer instructed the Guardian. “One thing I kept saying when developing the film is black hair is often used against black women and I really wanted this project to be putting black hair on a pedestal as a thing of beauty. I think creating the film is inherently political even though the theme isn’t.”

The presentation, Parts of Me, takes place on a migrant boat, and regardless of its brevity at lower than three minutes lengthy, touches on the longing, panic and hope across the diaspora expertise. Filmed in hazy aquamarine blues and jade greens with a dreamy soundtrack from Kelly Moran, the movie makes use of shortly reduce, stark imagery, impressed by the images of JD ‘Okhai Ojeikere as well as vintage hair salon posters, to make its larger point.

There’s a hip-hop montage of nail artwork, a sailor’s neckerchief and Ahluwalia’s trademark wave-like designs, which intermingle like maps or DNA, all referencing the stress and hope of migration.

The accompanying spring-summer 2022 collection is Priya Ahluwalia’s first joint men’s and womenswear collection.
The accompanying spring-summer 2022 assortment is Priya Ahluwalia’s first joint males’s and womenswear assortment. Photograph: Laurence Ellis

The menswear designer has included womenswear into the gathering for the primary time, together with patchwork jumpsuits, a 90s clubbing-inspired sari gown, shell-like patterned cowboy boots and loads of wonky knitwear. But hair, and particularly the way it displays identity and historical past, is on the coronary heart of the digital presentation.

Passengers on the journey embrace a black household every carrying totally different types of hair: a bit of lady with a spherical hair sculpture, a mom with bejewelled locks, a son with a hi-top fade and a dad with a durag. As they’re locked in a four-way embrace, it’s a celebration of them but in addition the chances which await them as they depart the boat.

The present follows Qasimi’s, which took a poem written impressed by Syria’s six-day warfare of 1967 as its jump-off level, designer Abigail Ajobi’s present in regards to the Brixton riots of 1985, and each Bethany Williams and Nicholas Daley’s exhibits, which riffed on generational legacy and heritage.

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