Welcome to the Old World New presents: “Cultural Appreciation, Not Appropriation” Series!
I am a lover of the vast cultures of our old world, and over the years I’m blessed to have been exposed to so many different cultures. From television programs like MTV Tres, to studying abroad in Italy, to being a board and dance team member for African and Caribbean student organizations at my university – I am over-enthused when it comes to learning about how people from all over the world live their lives, and the history that influences it. Coming from a lower income background, often times when people express interest in something that is not normal to their surrounding, they are considered “weird.” Well, I’ve been considered weird, alright, but my family indulged in my “weirdness” and nurtured it. We may not have had much money, but love, compassion and faith in my inner calling from my family has definitely been a driving force in blossoming into my true self. Combining my love of different cultures with my love of fashion, style and thrifting, I have discovered so many different cultural clothing items at thrift stores, and I love to incorporate them as outfit inspiration.
Essentially, this series will be like mini-essays with style and/or design photos sharing how to appreciate cultures that we love to emulate, instead of just appropriating them. To appreciate them, we must have some sort of knowledge about them. I believe that it is culture, not race, that really sets us apart. I am “black,” as the world would define me. But my Arkansas and Texas black is very different from people who I’ve been asked about being associated with. Apparently I look Etrurian when I hang out with my friends that were born and raised in different countries from across the vast continent of Africa. Our cultures are what make us unique. I choose to celebrate, not shun, our uniqueness. I hope that you will celebrate it with me!
Before we get into the style, I’d like to preface it by saying this:
Diversity is the spice of life. I love pulling influence from different cultures. The easy access to knowledge of different peoples’ heritages has helped shaped me to be who I am today. Therefore, I practice love, not hate. I practice cultural appreciation, not cultural appropriation. Learn about and have respect for the cultures that you seek to emulate – you’ll be happy that you opened your mind to “a whole new world” (I hope you sang that in your Jasmine & Aladdin voice, because I did!).
ps – this was my spill. Following Cultural Appreciation posts will be all about the fashion, with a link back to this for all who want to read it!
Style: Head Wrap
In contemporary times, many African American women who wear their hair free of chemical alteration wear what we call “head wraps.” Sometimes it is just a method to prevent frizzing and breakage overnight, and sometime we wear them in a stylish fashion.
Africa within itself contains numerous cultures, and they have several different headdress traditions, but I will only focus on one. The best info I could find on geles and head wraps was on wikipedia, and it says that they are worn in west Africa day to day, and in large ceremonial fashion at weddings, church events and special events.
Islamic headdress has been commercialized to be seen as oppressive. I will not say that oppression does not exist in some Islamic cultures, but I will ask, what culture do you know that is free of oppression of a particular group of people because of an attribute they hold that is seen as inferior? Don’t worry, I’ll wait. *Katt Williams voice* Delving into the history and recent advances in Islamic headdress will show you that many women love their culture and make art out of their traditional fashion customs. I follow a lady on instagram who is always on point with her outfits, and she never goes without her headdress. Herman Nuari is a modern Islamic fashion head dress designer, and his creations are nothing short of glorious.
Islamic headdress by Herman Nuari via “Islamic Fashion“
Old World New: Head Wrap Fashion Interpretation
I purchased this large piece of colorful fabric from a thrift store for $5. It was sorted to be with bed linen because of its size, but I noticed that it was next to a pink Sari, so I imagine, due to its size, that it served as a sari, too. I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, but originally I thought it would make a cute picnic blanket – until one day I was having a bad hair day and needed a stylish headdress! It saved the day, and it was beautiful, so I wear it on good and bad hair days now, simply as a fashion statement. The statement? I look beautiful in this head wrap! It turned out beautifully, and I feel pride in acknowledging the cultures that have embraced it before me.
xoxo, dolls & dudes