African women have been known for their creativity in fashion. The likes of auto gele, head tie, etc. all came from the black league. Though, the majority of them never knew that most of this fashion trending now has been in existence since the 17th century. What the majority believe is that the Europeans pioneered today’s fashion trend.
Though, some of the trends coming from the Europeans were a result of blacks working in the fashion industry.
These, however, go from clothes to hair. Black women are often praised and revered for their hair. The texture of African hair is flexible which can form unique styles from afro to braids.
Notwithstanding, there was an era when black women were barred from displaying their hair in public.
A tignon (tiyon) is a headdress used to hide the hair from being seen. The tiyon was born as a result of the sumptuary law. It was adorned by free and slave Creole women of African ancestry in Louisiana in 1786.
The sumptuary law was passed under Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miró. The law was a means to regulate the style of dress and appearance for people of color. Black women’s qualities often attract the attention of male white, French, and Spanish suitors and their beauty was a nothing but a threat to white women. The tignon law was the strategy used to combat the men pursuing and engaging in affairs with Creole women.
When the black woman noticed what the white men liked about them, they began competing too openly with white women by dressing elegantly and possessing note-worth beauty.
After the rule was enacted, black women did not despair. Instead, they adhere to the rule and turn it into fashion. The women used several combinations of jewels, colors, ribbons, and wrapping styles which accentuated their gorgeousness even more.
These resulted in the birth of various head ties seen today on women of color using unique materials, patterns, and flair.
Tignons have been used by women in the Caribbean islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Dominica which had hidden messages embedded in them. They used Madras, a common fabric amongst slaves and free women to achieve their head ties.
Eventually, tignon law faded out of effect in the 1800’s yet, black women worldwide continue to use head wraps as wardrobe staples and look stunning while doing so.