The Western world is a little behind when it comes to ways to naturally beat the heat without blasting the pricey air conditioning. African women have known this trick for ages: the head wrap. They’re already there but you can expect to see more of these in Western stores.
Large textile firms like H&M are building factories in Ethiopia. The company that owns Tommy Hilfiger is scouting Kenya. And since local fashions influence what the factories make, these styles will likely show up in the the diaspora staple of African head wraps.
Buy them or recreate them yourself at home. Here are 12 fabrics and designs that make great African head wraps.
Nigerian top model Agbani Darego shows how your head wrap can be your statement piece. The solid, bright color goes well with chunky, multi-colored jewelry.
The link-chain pattern is always sophisticated. If you have a large piece of fabric like a sarong or multi-purpose fabric you can create this look.
You’ll need a stiffer fabric to hold up the twist at the top of this look. The bright yellow is perfect for summer and this style lets most of the head still breathe.
This look is originally from AfroMagazine and shows how a simple silk or shiny fabric can get that dramatic, drooping look. If you have a formalwear shawl you use for weddings, you can create this look.
Take your favorite bright scarf and easily turn it into this simple look. The frilled edges make it fun but casual. This is a great look for the beach.
You can easily recreate this look with a sheer vintage kerchief (maybe one your grandmother left you.) Twisting the scarf up on the head lets all the patterns show.
This look is edgy and seductive. If you go to a crafts store and get a durable, stretchy band in any color you can recreate this Egyptian-esque look.
Your ’50s-flight-attendant pocket kerchief can create this look. The scarf is turned into a pseudo-hat here so you can even wear it on colder days.
You’ll need a large piece of fabric with a tribal print for this look. This style has a crown build so it’s great for formal occasions.
Your pool sarong or skirt can get you this look. This is another style that lets the head breathe on top.
The high wrap is a very traditional African style of head wrap. This look elongates the neck and lets all the wrap’s patterns show.
Grab your favorite funky, ’80s-style scarf to create this simple, bow-front look. The opening on top allows for a little sunhat too.