The simple headscarf has over centuries been used as a political statement, as a way to control women, banned, made mandatory, and hailed as a symbol of religious need, and of course, seen as a luxury item of desire The simplicity of beautiful plain or printed silk or cotton squares has a long history far more complex than this little square (of oblong) of fabric would initially seem. Find out more in Hair Do as opposed to hair don’t.
The scarf, seen as both a sign of liberation and imprisonment, of progress and regression. Throughout history, the headscarf has sat on the heads of women and men from royalty including Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II to the wild and extravagant flappers of the 1920s as well as political statements.
The headscarf was actually born out of necessity, with wearers across Mesopotamian societies using linen pieces as protection from the rain and sun. But it wasn’t until the 13th century that it became written in certain religious texts; daughters and widows should cover their heads as a sign of piety. No low-class women or prostitutes were allowed to wear them so they had a social stigma attached already.
Black leather jackets worn by the defiant Black Panther Party during the US civil rights movement or by those that wanted to be associated with Rock and Roll, scarves also became ubiquitous with social movements throughout history.
In 1786, the Tignon Laws were introduced in Louisiana which required Black and mixed-race women to wrap their heads in cloth. Yet, these women had already been wrapping their hair as a marker of identity.
In the 1970s, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a group of Argentine women trying to find information about their missing children, began wearing white headscarves known as “pañuelos,” as a symbol of unity, whilst also symbolising the fabric diapers they would have used for their children.
Some countries as recently as 2004 have banned hijabs with the United Nations stating that the ban on full-face niqab could marginalize Muslim women and is a violation of their human rights.
However as a staple of luxury fashion in was in the 1910s French fashion houses started designs that included colourful, embellished scarves for the head. French couturier Paul Poiret showed headscarves in bold patterns, sometimes affixed with a centred jewel.
As women became liberated, donned bobbed hairdos, and participated in sports they used scarves to cover their hair while riding in newly designed cars as seen on many-a-film-star think, Anna Mae Wong and Elizabeth Taylor.
The most desired of scarves may well come from French brand Hermès. Debuting its first scarf in 1937, with an elaborate woodblock design on imported Chinese silk.
Again it was a class feature as worn by such dignitaries as Queen Elizabeth II of England, American First Lady Jacqueline Lee Kennedy Onassis and Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, the last of whom once nonchalantly used her Hermès scarf to fashionably sling her injured arm.
World War II and the return of the utilitarian headscarf, as women took up jobs in factories as men were on the battlefields. In the UK the image of a working woman in a headscarf was used as propaganda as well as protection of hair whilst working in such environments.
Post-war, nylon scarves were often worn tied around the neck or over the head and wrapped around the neck to protect hairstyles.
In the counterculture of the 1960s, the headscarf again was worn in a political statement but also for experimental fashions. In mainstream culture, however, women wore them to protect their hairstyles.
Today the simple scarf acts as a connector whether we are aware of its historical significance or not. Important still as a protector, the plant-based hair brand Boucleme created by Michele Scott-Lynch in 2014.
After battling with her hair throughout her teens and twenties to make it what it is not, straight, and damaging it in the process, Michele made it her mission to redefine what it means to be curly and in doing so created a collection of quality products, rooted in nature and serious about curls.
Packed full of active plant extracts and sumptuous scents, it nourishes fragile hair from the inside out, without drying sulphates, heavy silicones or mineral oils, whilst delivering great-looking and feeling results. Boucleme also prides itself on the use of environmentally conscious production methods.
This includes the use of recycled and upcycled plastic packaging alongside bio-degradeable, while supporting small producers along its supply chain. As well as testing products on real curls, not animals, Boucleme are also committed to natural and sustainable haircare.
Boucleme has partnered this season with luxury fashion brand, Preen By Thornton Bregazzi to create a must-have scarf that can be tied around curls, worn as a fashion accessory or used to wrap up gifts.
Preen By Thornton Bregazzi was founded in 1996 by Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi, built on an aesthetic of darkly romantic and effortlessly modern, juxtaposing the masculine with the feminine and mixing hard and soft.
“We wanted to partner with Preen to produce something super cool for Christmas that wasn’t just the usual normal seasonal gift set. As a curly-haired woman, I always struggle to find accessories to style in my hair. I use a scarf in so many ways from wrapping my hair at night to tying my curls up. Working with Preen meant we produced something that everyone can use. Why just limit it to curls when you can wrap gifts in the scarf or even make it a gorgeous necktie.”
Michele Scott-Lynch, Curl Expert & Founder of Boucleme
Synonymous with deconstructed ‘Cool Britannia’ Preen By Thornton Bregazzi was founded in 1996 by Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi, built on an aesthetic of darkly romantic and effortlessly modern, juxtaposing the masculine with the feminine and mixing hard and soft.
It has developed a cult status amongst fashion lovers evolving from a small boutique in London’s Notting Hill to a globally loved brand that has presented its collections at fashion weeks in both London and NYC.
”Thea and I felt it was a great opportunity to work with a brand that focuses on natural haircare solutions, and as Thea has curly hair, it’s the perfect partnership. We always focus on print as a brand as it’s important to our design process & ethos. Being inspired by Boucleme’s colourful packaging and plant-powered ingredients, we produced a print using our iconic Electric Bloom design that has been reworked using soft pink as a base with highlights of green and jade. Working with Michele, we scaled up our scarf size to make sure it can be multi-adaptable for curls as well as become a beautiful gift for Christmas. The sustainable messaging of buying something that you will love and keep, resonates with us as a brand.”
Justin Thornton, Creative Director & Co-Founder of Preen By Thornton Bregazzi
The Boucleme X Preen By Thornton Bregazzi Scarf launches on 7th November 2022. The scarf will be available exclusively from www.boucleme.co.uk. Fabric Composition: 100% recycled polyester.
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