Why It Matters That Big-Name Retailers Are Finally Casting Models With Natural Afros
Recently, I’ve noticed that natural hair is all over the retail sites I peruse when I’m shopping for sweaters that I don’t need or procrastinating instead of working. This is a good thing (the diverse textures, not my shopping habit). Although I love to see a striking natural hair moment on the runway or on the red carpet, I appreciate these images on e-commerce websites just as much. Maybe even more. I view it as a sign of progress any time natural hair is presented in a ho-hum way; when it’s not a statement that needs to be analyzed or critiqued, it’s just a hairstyle that can sit peacefully alongside any other look.
As Lupita Nyong’o told Porter magazine back in 2018, “Natural, African, kinky hair — it’s often been painted as uncivilized or wild.” Those deep-seated negative perceptions have been changing over the past few years, as the internet and social media have provided a platform for black hair to be seen, celebrated, and openly discussed. Although there’s still plenty to talk about, the growing presence of natural hair indicates that the ongoing conversations are helping America evolve into a society that embraces a more inclusive hair landscape. We’ll get there eventually, but in the meantime, spotting these enviable ‘fros on nine different sites feels like a win.
1. Asos: Angular Afro
A center part makes the cool shape of this curly style stand out even more.
2. Zara: Retro Afro
This stunning look is a throwback to the big, bold hair of the 1970s — and we’re so here for it.
3. Mango: Grace Jones-inspired Afro
Another way to channel the disco era: rock a short, defined Afro à la Grace Jones.
4. GAP: Platinum Afro
A closely-cropped cut is striking enough on its own, but when you add daring color, it suddenly becomes white-hot.
5. Urban Outfitters: Layered Afro
Shorter pieces in the front frame the face beautifully and give longer natural hairstyles more dimension.
6. Topshop: Teeny Weeny Afro
What’s not to love about a timeless look that’s low-maintenance, but exudes sky-high confidence?
7. H&M: Voluminous Afro
This style follows a fool-proof formula that Solange has perfected in the past: start with a good cut, add warm brown color, then go with a texture that looks a bit undone.
8. Target: Pinned Back Afro
Just a few strategically-placed hairpins can switch up the shape of an Afro (and keep you from getting bored).
9. Shopbop: Tapered Afro
Keeping the hair a bit shorter in the back creates a flattering look that’s simple yet sophisticated.
Now, check out these hair stories:
We sat down with girls ages 5 to 18 to find out what they think about hair today:
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