Let's start by setting the record straight: Natural hair is not a trend. It's what grows from our heads, and it's only right that people of color reclaim it after centuries of being forced to adhere to Eurocentric beauty standards. That's why it's worth celebrating when someone like Issa Rae wears her crowning glory at the Emmys, or when models walk the runway with their own curls and coils. And thankfully, we saw plenty of natural hair at New York Fashion week, in a variety of styles for all lengths and textures.
With a range of textures, along with a handful of plus-size models walking in shows like Christian Siriano, Fenty x Savage, and Chromat, diversity at fashion week is slowly but surely becoming a new normal instead of a marketing tactic. That's not to say that the state of backstage beauty is perfect — at several shows, many of the Black models were only sent to Black stylists, and at others, certain pros appeared to be clueless when tasked with styling textured hair. Some progress is being made, though... and it's evident in the range of beautiful looks. Ahead, get the details on some of the most standout ones, along with tips to DIY.
Baby Bantu Knots
Backstage at R13, Adut Akech wore her small Afro in a series of mini bantu knots — twisted mini buns that help form curls — with diamond-shaped parts.
At Kate Spade, a cornrowed model clasped a single gold filigree tube on, which matched her Lemonhead LA Spacepaste (which Beyoncé is a fan of).
At Hellessy, stylists used the TRESemmé Botanique Nourish & Replenish Hydrating Mask on the models with curls, wrapping random strands around a tail comb for definition. The team also used a small curling iron. The team also used a small curling iron on certain sections for further enhancement, and broke the sections up by hand in order to prevent the hair from looking too uniform.
You don't know agony until you've spent at least eight hot, uncomfortable hours in the salon chair getting your hair braided into dozens of tiny plaits. With large braids like these, done by TRESemmé NYFW Stylist Ursula Stephen at Harlem's Fashion Row, you cut your styling time in half. Just make sure that your braider is gentle around your hairline, to avoid uncomfortable tugging and hair loss.
At Texture On The Runway, a couple of jumbo side cornrows flanked this magnificent, multihued front bun.
Tropical Flat Twists
Anthony Cole, Sebastian Professional International Artist, was inspired by Christian Siriano's Hawaiian-themed collection. So in turn, he gave models a series of large twists, using Sebastian Professional Shine Crafter wax for hold.
Some stylists opt to let models' true textures shine, instead of adding extensions in or straightening it out. And truthfully, a thick and healthy 'fro (like this one at Christian Siriano) is just as impressive.
Tapered And Coiled
If you're in between lengths, a tapered cut is always a good idea. It adds shape and makes every curl sing. For further definition, style your hair while wet, and apply a curl cream or gel to very small sections from root to tip. Wrap your sections around a tail comb to create your coils, and let them air dry overnight or use a diffuser.