The Headwrap Makes its Comeback in the Board Room
On the streets of Pretoria and Johannesburg, young women in jeans, stilettos and corporate suits are increasingly wrapping up with colourful head-wraps, twisted and tucked in creative ways to amp their outfits to school campuses,
On the streets of Pretoria and Johannesburg, young women in jeans, stilettos and corporate suits are increasingly wrapping up with colourful head-wraps, twisted and tucked in creative ways to amp their outfits to school campuses, clubs and the office.
Whereas the head-wrap has always been part of the African women’s wear, its place in society has not been appealing to young women due to its apartheid linked associations with servant-hood, association with elderly married women and religious associations.
The return and rising popularity of the head-wrap amongst women of all age groups in politics, business and the arts epitomizes a shift in trends and beliefs and now reasserting its place as a sign of beauty, cultural heritage and empowerment.
Applause recently attended a lifestyle pop-up store event called the “Tuku Affair” (Sotho translation: head-wrap affair) at Cofi Restaurant in Pretoria to find out why the head-wrap is becoming a popular fashion accessory amongst urban South African women.
Founder of the “Tuku Affair”, Tumie Ndaba says her love for head-wraps started when her mother used to travel to Mozambique and always brought back beautiful African fabrics. Not knowing what to do with the fabric, she started wearing them as head wraps and fell in love with the look. The growing admiration and interest from her peers led her to start an Instagram page of the various creative head wrapping styles and later launched the Tuku Affair pop up store events which has grown into a resounding success.
The monthly events feature various fabrics from neighboring countries, handmade accessories and of course, head-wrapping demonstrations and tips on styling to have a complete Afropolitan look. The event has become more than just a place to buy head-wraps. It has become a job creation avenue for her Mozambican and Tanzanian assistants, a hub of socialization and an entrepreneurship launching space for other young women who also bring samples of their business merchandise to the events.
Tumi ascribes the popularity of the head-wraps to the fact that Africans are coming back to themselves again. “South-African women are becoming proud of their heritage, they are okay with their Afros, head wraps and dreadlocks and prints. There is a wave of Africans being woke and discarding foreign standard of beauty,” she said.
The “Tuku Affair” is proving to be not just a fleeting romance with fashion trends, but a grounded venture that has gained enough recognition to be registered as a company in 2015. The brand has now partnered with the clothing line, “Urban Zulu” which has a national footprint in all major urban cities and features regularly at the South African Fashion Week.
Whether you call it a head-wrap, scarf or tuku, the head-wrap is no longer a badge of shame, but reclaiming its space as a powerful statement of pride in African identity, and a unique fashion accessory that African women cant help themselves but fall into a love affair with.