Natural Hair Week 2015: Celebrating naturals wherever they are.
I love it when Spring/Summer comes around, April showers will soon come to an end and warmer climates will be welcomed with open arms. An explosion of colours and patterns grace the shop windows and pop-up bars fill us with the promise of barbecues, tropical cocktails, outdoor sports and of course; natural hair and beauty shows. Kicking off the flurry of events celebrating our fabulous fros was NATURAL HAIR WEEK(2nd May – May 9th).
With the continued growth of the natural hair movement and plenty of live shows to go with it, organisers face a real challenge to keep shows fresh and original. However, Natural Hair Week has just the antidote, offering the most far reaching shows. A weeks' worth of events taking place in Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham and the final stop: London.
Organisers, Diane Hall and Vinna Best, wanted to provide a “wider variety of workshops and seminars”, with the theme for this year’s show (sponsored by Hairfinity)to “experience a life of AWESOMENESS”. After a slight malfunction in my sense of direction (I went to the wrong venue), I made my way to the conveniently located Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square where proceedings were hosted by Claire Cottey of Bang Radio. She was rocking a gorgeous braided updo for the London event and guided us through a programme of seminars and workshops including: Healthy Hair Care Basics by Dr. Lola Akingbola, a Loving the Skin That You’re In seminar by Hazel Kay Anderson, Locs – A Hair Story by Lorene Rhoomes, Introducing Fashion Unleashed by Frederique Tietceuand my personal favorite, 6 Natural Hair Growth Tips to Apply to Your Money Mindfulness Journey by Lavinia Osborne.
The market place offered a wealth of stands including temporary salons to get your curls coiffed and beauty stands where you could massage and moisturise yourself with the array of butters and puddings on offer. Lovers of African inspired prints were in their element with a broad selection of fashion pieces and of course there was the product swap table, which I was particularly fond of. I must admit to having a weakness for trying hair products only once and then struggling for space to hoard them! The result of such a wide range of exhibitors is that Natural Hair Week feels a lot like a lifestyle show for African and Caribbean woman, with a healthy bias towards natural hair.
A recent statistic indicates that 80% of the billion dollar hair industry in America is consumed by black women, but only a misely 3% of the industry is owned by them. Events like this in the UK show a trend towards haircare brand ownership by those of us consuming the products. While Natural Hair Week and other similar shows are still relatively new, they could provide the backbone to an increase in percentage share of ownership by black women, such is their ability to provide synergy between businesses and their buyers.
I'd like to give a massive shout out to some of the trailblazing businesswomen I met at Natural Hair Week; like the Antidote Streetteam, who are 'purveyors of access' with their fabulous retail website considered to be the ASOS of natural hair care. Love Your Skin, who, in their newly acquired cerise/lavender uniforms, are evolving into a brand akin to the beauty section at Selfridges. Bloggers, Jay and Tri of Curlture, who were always ready to pay a compliment to passing curlies, which just added to the already positive energy at the event.
In challenging times where it can be difficult to choose which hair show to spend our hard-earned cash on, Diane Hall and Vinna Best have managed to stay ahead of the pack, by providing a show that can be embraced not only by us Londoners, but also the often overlooked naturals north of the M25. With Natural Hair Week 2016 already scheduled for 30th April – 7th May 2016, it will be interesting to see how the show evolves and just how much the hair of all who indulged in Hairfinity’s, vitamins has grown!