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Black Hair

Slideshow with images of African hair style from Copenhagen Hair Festival 2002

Copenhagen Hair Festival took place in the Royal Library ("Den Sorte Diamant") and Copenhagen Marriot Hotel in the weekend of 28-29 September 2002. These photos are from one of the main attractions: the "Black Hair Show". The school for hairdressers are now starting courses in afro hair design. Models at the fashion show were presenting spectacular hairstyles made by visiting artists from Burkina Faso and South Africa. Read more below.


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All photos © Copyright Jacob Crawfurd. All rights reserved.

African hair show

In Denmark the union of hairdressers and the hairdressing schools has opened their eyes to techniques of African hairstyling. For the last few years “black hair” has featured as a special theme on the annual Hair Festival. The photos on these pages are from Copenhagen Hair Festival, September 2002. The Black Hair Show was among the main attractions for a large professional audience in the two-day festival programme. The show took place in the Royal Danish Library and was complete with drums and singing as the models did their catwalk.

Models at the fashion show were presenting spectacular hairstyles made by invited hair artists from Burkina Faso and South Africa. Part of the show was devoted to inform about the background for the traditional hairstyles. The Danish hairdressers attending experienced how African hairstyles and fashion often has a deeper meaning than what we are used to in Europe. Besides making a woman look beautiful, the hair and clothes can have a symbolic value and send messages. One hairstyle signalled “go-away-I-am-just-married” while another meant “come-closer-I-am-single”. The team also displayed more modern varieties of hair, and some extraordinary ideas that were definitely not meant for everyday use.

Emmanuel Bassole and Suzanne Traoré both represented Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Suzanne Traoré has specialised in braiding techniques while Emmanuel Bassolé is mixing his African experiences with a western education. Yvonne Mahape is running a cosmetology and hairdressing school in a shantytown area of Cape Town. The school was originally formed during apartheid in South Africa when young black people were not allowed to enter the colleges. For the show Ghanaian hairdresser Barikisu Larsen, who lives and works in Copenhagen, assisted them. At a “look and learn” session later in the day, the hairdressers talked to their European colleagues about the more technical details and problems of black hair care. Techniques such as braids, twist, cornrows, weave on and water curls were discussed and demonstrated. “We would like to bring African hair to Europe. Obviously the Europeans can learn from our methods, just as we can learn from theirs,” Yvonne Mahape explained.

It seems the idea is beginning to catch on. The interest in African hair design has led to more international projects. Unions of hairdressers in Denmark and Ghana are now working together –exchanging ideas, styles and educating about the importance of organising, working environment and safe use of chemicals.

© Text and photos by Jacob Crawfurd.
Published in Re-Quest - Pulsion (Japan), no.1, 2004
and Coloured Pictures Magazine (Netherlands), issue 5, 2004.

Yvonne Mahape (Western Cape, South Africa)
Suzanne Traoré (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)
Gaël Emmanuel Bassole (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)

Clothing by Francis Selorm Seshie - www.kentedesign.dk

Live music provided by Titambe Dance Company.

The event was arranged by: Københavns Frisørlaug / Frisørfagets Faglige Ordning.



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