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These Female Entrepreneurs Want You To Wear A Wig That Is Snatched

According to research, African-American consumers will spend nearly $2 billion on hair-care products, this year alone. And although a lot of that expenditure goes toward products aimed at caring for natural hair —like shampoo, conditioner and styling products, which are also very important— a lot of $$$ is also being spent on wigs and extensions —of terrible quality, may I add. These black women grew tired of fighting and fussing with wigs and hair extensions of bad quality, so they created their own businesses to fix the problem.

Up until recently, products like wigs and extensions were primarily produced by people outside of the black community. And perhaps that’s why there were so many issues.

Twitter @olaleyepeter6

According to Mintel, between 2015 and 2019, the use of braids and extensions by Black consumers in the U.S. grew 64% and the use of wigs spiked 79%. It’s also Black women who are seen wearing the film lace frontals “Oba wigs” and drawstring ponytails and yet, a lot of companies are white or Asian-owned but Black-presenting. “It’s problematic and needs to be discussed,” says Stephanie Nolan, founder of XOXO Virgin Hair.

Nolan first came up with the idea to start her own hair business after working as a model in the early 200s.

Instagram @xoxovirginhair

Ever noticed how hairstylists spend the majority of prep time fussing and fighting with weaves and wigs  before even being able to put them on? “They would have less-than-desirable experiences working with hair extensions or wigs that just weren’t cooperating,” says Nolan. “And it would end up really dragging out photoshoots.”

She had experimented with weaves in her personal life too, and in more than just a few occasions, the hair she bought just didn’t meet her expectations.

Instagram @xoxovirginhair

“I know that the everyday woman also doesn’t have time to fuss with their hair in the morning because she has to be at work at 8:30 in the morning,” she says. “And spending a lot of time on hair just takes away from being able to eat breakfast, being able to commute, so many things.” So she started her own company in 2014, aiming to release a product that would be convenient, easy to use and most importantly, of high quality.

Heat Free Hair by Ngozi Opara

Instagram @heatfreehair

Ngozi Opara owned a hair salon in Washington D.C. around the time when the natural hair movement started to take off. And she started to see a lot of clients that wanted to grow out their natural hair —which more often than not had been straightened or relaxed. They didn’t want to cut off their hair, so thy opted for sew-ins instead. “At the time, there weren’t any extension products on the market that would blend properly for women with coily hair textures (think 3B and 4C),” Opara says. “Clients were using virgin hair, but the only available options all came in straight, wavy and loose curly textures.”

The textures available meant that Opara had to straighten her clients’ hair in order to get it to blend properly, and she wanted to be able to manipulate their hair without using any heat. “I set myself up to be the first company to [make] virgin hair exclusively for natural hair textures.”

In 2013 Opara moved to China to learn about the manufacturing process.

Instagram @heatfreehair

After six months in China, she learned that not only did the factories have no concept of how the product they were making was being used, but also that a lot of the people producing the wigs didn’t know how to create textured hair without using chemicals. After a lot of tests, roundtable discussions and educating, they eventually got to a place of understanding and were able to create a product all parties were proud of. Now, Opara owns her own factory in China —with more than 50 employees.

Gina Knight, an influencer and wig designer based in the U.K., noticed that the same issue was prevalent in hair extensions across the pond.

instagram @ginaatinukeknight

Just as Opara hadn’t been happy with the texture of virgin hair for wigs, Knight couldn’t find options with hair similar to her own texture. “Having to have more of a Eurocentric wig just wasn’t me,” Knight says.

Black entrepreneurship in the wig and extension space is picking up speed but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

instagram @ginaknightwigdesign

“We are the ones who are utilizing [the product] the most, we’re making it modern, we’re making it so that other races want to get in on it and want to wear wigs,” Knight explains in conversation with Fashionista. “But I think people need to be honest with the fact that, in the supply chain, we don’t have a stronghold,” she says. “Along the line, it does fall out of the hands of Black-owned because we have to source from all over.”

Many companies realized there was a market, and they jumped on it without considering the group they’re marketing to.

twitter @morganjerkins

That’s probably what’s most upsetting about how the industry has evolved since these entrepreneurs first started their businesses. “When I created my brand, I had this customer in mind, I had my clients at the time in mind, I had myself in mind,” Opara says. “I shared the same pain points as the people who would benefit from my product and I didn’t even necessarily know it was going to take off, I just wanted to help solve a problem.” It’s unfortunate, she says, because the companies with more power take opportunities away from black female founders that are creating these products for their community.

It’s important to support Black women and their businesses so even more companies can thrive.

Instagram @ginaknightwigdesign

“I feel like it’s my duty almost to try to encourage people to support Black businesses because I know the value that it has for future entrepreneurs,” explains Opara. “But I also feel like, at least for myself as a consumer, I want to know that the brand I’m buying from is a brand that actually cares about me and not just about the money that they’re making from me.”

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Maluma Teams Up With Luxury Brand Balmain For This Must-Have Fashion Collection

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Maluma Teams Up With Luxury Brand Balmain For This Must-Have Fashion Collection

It’s 2021 and we have no shortage of epic collaborations between some of the world’s biggest Latino stars and top fashion brands. Everyone from J Balvin and Bad Bunny to Cardi B and now Maluma have entered the fashion industry to sell a lifestyle. And people are buying!

Maluma and French fashion house Balmain bring us a limited-edition collaboration.

Colombian superstar Maluma has partnered with French fashion house Balmain to launch a limited edition collection that will be available from April 12 through June 1 in all Balmain stores, including brick and mortar and online.

The collection, which includes sneakers, blazers, t-shirts, pants and other ready-to-wear clothing, will also be available at Saks Fifth Avenue as of April 15.

The Balmain + Maluma line marks the first time ever the brand has designed a line with a celebrity. And it seems like the brand’s creative designer is pretty excited about the collab. Through photos on his Instagram, Olivier Rousteing referred to the reggaetón singer as his inspiration, captioned with supportive laudatory messages about merging their cultures and joint design process.

“Maluma, more than him being an incredible singer,” Rousteing notes, “[brings] a lot to the fashion community with his joy and his happiness and the fact that he’s always playing up his style from different kinds of houses from around the world, mixing different cultures as well… I think the collaboration with Maluma is obviously giving to Balmain and pushing the aesthetic more internationally.”

Maluma also seems to be pumped for the opportunity!

Although Balmain has featured other celebrities in advertising campaigns and runway shows, it has never actually enlisted a celebrity to help design a full, name-branded line.

The brand’s high profile, along with the haute-couture retail price of the collection, underscores how entrenched Maluma is now in the global fashion world and how valuable his endorsement and name is perceived by high fashion.

“It’s been one of my goals to work with a respected fashion house on a collection, but this journey was more exciting, as Olivier pushed me to design with him and sketch looks that I personally will wear off the stage and showcase high couture with a bit of Papi Juancho,” says Maluma, referencing both his album name and alter ego.

But if you want a piece of the collection be prepared to drop those coins.

Credit: Phraa / Balmain

Items in the Balmain + Maluma collection range from a black cotton T-shirt that retails for $495, to $1,500 high top sneakers to a $2,555 multi-color print bomber jacket.

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Madonna’s Daughter Lourdes Embraces Natural Body Hair In Beautiful Selfie With Mom

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Madonna’s Daughter Lourdes Embraces Natural Body Hair In Beautiful Selfie With Mom

Grooming habits should be a matter of personal choice, but thanks to generations of the patriarchy telling women how they should look, what they should wear, and how they should take care of their bodies, that isn’t always the case. Thankfully, more and more brave women are embracing their natural beauty and that includes their own body hair.

Lourdes Leon showing off her natural arm pit hair is the normalization of body hair we all need.

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A post shared by Madonna (@madonna)

Whether it’s on the red carpet or in a photo with her mom, Madonna, Lourdes Leon has a relationship with her body hair we can all admire. For instance, he two posed for a rare selfie on April 10, and Leon’s natural look moved us another step closer to normalizing visible body hair.

The sweet image is captioned: “Like Pieces of your Heart Walking around outside of you #lola.”

‘Lola’ is the nickname of Madonna’s eldest child, whom she shares with Cuban personal trainer-actor Carlos Leon.

The fashion icon’s post has received more than 440,000 ‘likes’ with many fans praising her daughter’s decision to embrace her natural body hair – with comments including “two beautiful, strong women” and “beautiful mother with her gorgeous daughter.”

Leon has never been shy about embracing her natural beauty.

Her mother has pushed beauty boundaries for decades, so it makes sense the 24-year-old model would choose to do the same. In November 2018, Lourdes generated headlines when she showed off her unshaved armpits and legs on the red carpet at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Gala, just weeks after she turned heads for the same reason on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week.

Earlier this year, in February, she also showed off a glimpse of armpit hair in a new fashion campaign for Marc Jacobs. 

It seems that Lourdes may even have been inspired by her famous mom when it comes to ditching the razor. Speaking to Harper’s Bazaar in 2010, the singer said: “Going to high school, I saw how popular girls had to behave to get the boys. I knew I couldn’t fit into that.

“So I decided to do the opposite. I refused to wear makeup, to have a hairstyle. I refused to shave. I had hairy armpits.”

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