This week’s topic is the origins of headwraps. Whether you call them headscarves, use a pair of stockings, wear a hijab, or a Perfect Pineapple vegan wrap, the goal is to keep your beautiful mane in an amazing style. Headwraps’ earliest origins arise in the 13th century when they symbolized a woman’s eligibility for marriage and also served as markers of religious beliefs in various cultures.
In relation to Black women and as slavery grew across America, scarves were required for women of color as a reminder of oppression and ownership. Those same scarves protected the women’s scalp from the heat and pollutants they often endured while working in the field. In 1786 Louisiana, the Tignon Law was created to demote women of African descent, free or enslaved, to a lower social status in respect to white women by wearing headdresses. Nevertheless, Black women still found a way to express their creativity and style in the way they tied and decorated their scarves. In the 1960s and 70s, as Black pride grew, men and women began wearing headwraps and turbans to solidify their place in history. Black people came together in a united effort to show their solidarity with one another by donning divine headwear. From the 2000s to the present, headwraps have been fashioned in all sorts of ways all while expressing the beauty of the rich heritage from whence they originated.
In other cultures of Europe such as Turkey or the Middle East, turbans were worn in the 1200s as protection from harsh weather and eventually worn more often as Islam began to spread. Similarly, in Jamaica, certain Rastafarian women wear wraps as a way to protect the strength and influence of their locs and as a way to pay respect to God. In many West African countries, headwraps are worn and tied in unique ways to complement their attire, with each one traditionally made with significant African prints.
To summarize it all, headwraps date back hundreds of years and have been worn with pride by women of all backgrounds. Regardless of the challenges these women faced, they still chose to express themselves how they wanted to and pave a path for generations to come.