A Look Into Texture on the Runway at New York Fashion Week
BY ALYSSA ACKERMAN
On September 6th, 2018, Gotham Hall’s doors opened to a mass of bloggers, consumers, influencers, and fashion lovers to celebrate NaturallyCurly’s 20th Anniversary with Texture on the Runway at New York Fashion Week.
NaturallyCurly was founded by Michelle Breyer along with her friend and business partner, Gretchen Herber, in 1998. The brand started off as a discussion board, but rapidly grew into an enriching, popular resource for the textured-hair community. Celebrating their 20th Anniversary, NaturallyCurly provides styling tips, articles, forums, and recommendations for natural-hair brands to their visitors. Their mission to inspire, empower, and educate the textured hair community over the past two decades has helped the brand accumulate more than 16 million visitors per month.
Breyer had visited New York to cover fashion week on many occasions. She became disappointed in the lack of diversity on the runway and wanted to see more natural, textured hair, and interesting styles on the models. Breyer saw an opportunity to make an impactful change and she would use the NaturallyCurly platform to do so.
Texture on the Runway’s first show, which launched in 2012, celebrated the beauty of natural, textured hair and the hottest fashion to go with it. Six years later, NaturallyCurly teamed up with Sally’s Beauty and several hair-care brands (Camille Rose, Cantu Beauty, Carol's Daughter, Creme of Nature, Mielle Organics, SheaMoisture, and The Mane Choice) that cater to natural hair for an inspiring runway show. Industry folks and socialites weren't the only ones invited. Consumers were also welcomed to attend, giving the event a community-like feel of people who shared the same cause, triumphs, and natural hair.
Upon entering the venue, attendees were greeted by a plethora of photo booths and Instagrammable moments. A wall filled with balloons in a variety of pink shades seemed to be the most popular spot to snag a photo. A mini treadmill moving at its slowest speed was set up for attendees to strut their stuff with a virtual runway. A step and repeat banner, featuring the name of the event and its sponsors, was made available for guests to flaunt their location.
Lined around a glossy, white catwalk were participating hair-care brands promoting their newest products. Guests were lucky enough to grab a sample of Shea Moisture's Treatment Masque, catch a sneak peak of Curls Unleashed latest packaging, and experience the delectable scent of Carol's Daughters' newest collection, Pracaxi Nectar.
While all of the brands did an amazing job in conceptualizing and styling, two stuck out the most to me:
Lisa Price founded Carol's Daughter in her Brooklyn apartment in 1993. Her hobby of handcrafting body butters turned into a premier multicultural beauty brand. In 2014, Carol's Daughter joined the L'Oreal family and is credited with helping pioneer the natural hair movement. Price was the first person to step onto the runway. Instead of giving us a catwalk, she gave us something better. With a microphone in her hand, synchronized dancers moving behind her, and a Jay-Z instrumental playing in the background, Price sang the lyrics to "Public Service Announcement." The crowd, and I, loved it. We all sang along with wide grins on our faces.
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Let us tell you a little something about our founder, @iamlisaprice...she 👏🏽 plays 👏🏽 no 👏🏽 games 👏🏽! WATCH how she brought her #Brooklyn pride to #NYFW at this year’s Texture on The Runway — *mic drop* 🖐🏾🎤 • • #TextureOnTheRunway! 🙌🏾 #carolsdaughter #borninbrooklyn #madewithlove #naturallycurly
As Mielle Organic's models took the stage, their jungle-inspired body art and hairstyles had the audience shook. Each model glided down the runway with tall limber legs and a glistening, crystal crown in hand. Once a model hit the end of the runway, she would pose with her crown and claim her throne as queen. As the queen made her way back up the runway, the next model would show up behind her and snatch the crown; a new queen had arrived and there wasn't enough room for the both of them. As I gazed at the performance I couldn't help but wonder: Can women all be queens at the same time or will we always be in competition with one another?
The show ended with all five models on stage standing with poise, dignity, and crown-less. Monique Rodriguez, founder of Mielle Organics, entered the stage and crowned each of her muses, turning all of them into queens.
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I was blessed with a voice I’m going to use it... I was blessed with a platform so I’m going to use it for his glory. God didn’t put us on this earth to hate each other, fight with each other compete with each other.. I will never use my platform to tear someone else down. I use it to inspire others to be great and if one person received this message and it helped change the way they think I’ve done my job.. I wasn’t born to fit in, I wasn’t born to seek approval from others and as long as God approves I’m Good! ☺️💫 @pearnova runway nail polish sponsor
And who can forget the looks of Michelle Breyer and breakout star of VH1's Love & Hip Hop Miami Amara La Negra. Audience members were completely in awe by Breyer's gorgeous, curly locks and La Negra's perfectly sculpted afro decorated with butterflies.
Texture on the Runway proved to not only be a dazzling success in the ranks of New York Fashion Week, but a multi-cultural one at that. Before my eyes, I saw one of the biggest weeks in fashion represent a scene of true diversity where women of any color and hair type could be crowned as queens and treated like one, too.
Lead Image Credit: Meow and Barks Boutique / Instagram