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Curly Nikki

Natural Hair Apparel

By January 27th, 202115 Comments

Natural Hair Apparel

By Andrea Dawn

These days it’s easy to find unique, creative “natural hair apparel” on the market, announcing to the world how much we natural girls love our hair. I recently purchased a cute t-shirt that boldly and brightly proclaims “Natural Hair is Beautiful!” I wear it a lot, but it recently occurred to me that I never wear it in public. Why not? I just wouldn’t feel comfortable. I would feel like I was trying too hard to prove a point. To prove that I believe natural hair is beautiful. Rational feeling? Irrational? I’m not sure, but it’s how I feel.

I’ve never seen a woman with straight hair wearing a t-shirt that says “I Love My Straight Hair.” Or a woman with chemically relaxed hair wearing a t-shirt that says “Happy to Be Relaxed.” One could argue that there’s no need for straight-haired women to wear clothing that proclaims their love for their hair, because straight hair is a universally accepted beauty norm. Natural hair, on the other hand, has not been as widely accepted and celebrated by society.

Some people believe that clothing with “pro-natural hair” slogans promotes a sense of pride and empowerment for the person wearing it, and encourages people of all ethnicities to contemplate the beauty of natural hair. But would my wearing a t-shirt that says “My Afro Rocks!” really convince anyone else that my afro rocks? I doubt it. Would it make me feel more empowered and proud of my natural hair? No. My feelings of pride and empowerment run much deeper than a t-shirt slogan.

Equally confusing to me is clothing with slogans that vilify hair relaxers. I often wonder, what is the purpose of this? Is it to shame people who use relaxers? To educate them? Is it a way for us naturals to remind ourselves how happy we are to be free of relaxers? I’m confused.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see so many beautiful, creative natural hair t-shirts available on the market today. I’m all for freedom of expression, and I believe people should wear whatever makes them comfortable. I personally love the t-shirts with no slogans, just a graphic of a natural hair style (like an afro or a twist-out with a bright flower in it). I would probably feel comfortable wearing a t-shirt like that in public, because to me it’s like wearing a piece of art. But slogans are a deal breaker for me. Here’s why:

Natural hair is beautiful. Obviously I believe this is true, otherwise I wouldn’t wear my hair natural. Obviously I’m proud of my hair because I confidently and proudly display it every day. For me, that’s enough. I don’t need a t-shirt (or a hoodie, or a ball cap) to express how I feel about my hair. I like to think that my natural hair speaks for itself.


  • Anonymous says:

    I think that the tshirts are great just like a I'm black and im proud shirt. Its just expression. If anyone would like a shirt check out a new line check out Knotty By Nature

  • Sherry F. says:

    beachgirl56 -The last book I read was Bearing Thorough Witness About God's Kingdom. The book I plan to read on the Kindle is the Bible.

  • Janel says:

    I agree with the poster too. I'd wear a shirt with a picture of an afro, but not a "I love my natural hair" slogan…maybe something simple like "Curls Rock" with no picture. Just wearing my hair big and out speaks for itself.

  • Kimmie0810 says:

    I like "junkfood"/graphic/slogan tees and I like quite a few of the natural hair ones. I don't like the ones that seem to have an "attitude" bashing anyone else's choice or proclaiming natural hair is the right way or only way to be. That's too much. I like silly stuff like "curly girls do it better" and I have one from YEARS ago that says "to hell with straight hair" that (for me) doesn't knock straight hair but rather expresses my lack of patience for what I must endure to get maintain hair lol.

    Some of the shirts are nonsense & I agree with Tomi-Chan. It's like we can have shirts that say "proud to be a brown skinned girl" but if a lightskinned person wore a similar shirt boasting their skintone, it would be a problem. Just as we saw with #teamlightskin & #teamdarkskin. The darkskinned folks were hi-fiving each other all up and down Twitter but war was waged on a Mixed Chicks hair company rep for tweeting #teamlightskinned.

    It's all so silly and senseless.

  • Anonymous says:

    I wouldn't wear natural hair tees in public or at home. A lot of the slogans are tacky and like the article says my natural hair speaks for itself. If I had relaxed hair I would be offended by those creamy crack tees that some naturals insist on wearing. Its embarassing.

  • Editor says:

    I say, do what makes you feel good and wear what you want. To each her (or his) own!

  • Neesha_Cherie says:

    Well I LOVE my natural hair shirts. I have one that says "Thank God I'm natural." based on the book by Chris-Tia Donalson, and I have another one that says "Miss Naturalista" from, to some they may seem redundant or unnecessary because my hair speaks for itself or whatever, but I like them and I wear them in public because they represent what I believe, even if it is just limited to my hair. I have another shirt that says "Positive is how I live" and another one with the Virgin Islands flag on it and I wear those (in public) too because just like my hair shirts, they represents what I believe and what I represent. I don't wear them because I'm trying to push my views on anyone or draw attention to myself. I'm just representing myself and what I believe.

  • Anonymous says:

    Co-sign 100% with Lacoya

  • Lacoya (thesupercoya) says:

    I agree with this post, actually.

    @Tomi-Chan, +1000

    some tees are o.k. to me (i.e. picture of fro, Proud to be Natural, etc.)

    However some are borderline (or over) offensive (i.e. Relaxer-Free, 100% REAL, etc.) You are pushing the idea the having a relaxer is somehow not good, and that women are NOT natural are not 'real'. The list of examples can go on. I think it's o.k. to wear them as long as you don't impose on others who have chosen a different path.

  • Sophie says:

    To the first commenter: it is rather rude to call this column a waste of space. This *column* is also valid self expression!

    Anyway, I'm not really into the natural hair slogan tees either because my hair isn't my lifestyle. I do give other naturals the nod once in a while, but it means "your twist out looks great!" not "I understand your philosophy on life" I feel like the tees can make it like your hair rules your philopsophy. That said, some are just funny and obviously a lighthearted joke, so it's just preference! I do take umbrage with the "relaxers are evil" tees, though. No lie, that is why I haven't tried Uncle Funky's Daughter products. That kind of hate is uncalled for!

  • Jeannette says:

    I really don't analyze the natural hair clothing, it's not that methodical to me. I wear what I like and what speaks to me. I have one t-shirt that is pro-natural as well as I have a t-shirt that says, "It's a good day to be Black and Sexy." (I LOVE that shirt) and wear both in public often. Some people stare others, smile and sometimes comment (it's all good) but I wear them because it's an extension of my personality and how I feel. If people think negatively then so be it, what they think is none of my business.

  • The Mothership says:

    Eh for me it's a two way street. Sure, we're allowed self expression, but at what point does it become offensive or exclusive?

    Example: A black power shirt is A-OK but a white power shirt is automatically deemed as racist.

    Different Example: I love my nappy hair versus I love my relaxers.

    Why is celebration of heritage, hair, or heirloom restricted to those of the minority? I don't think it's okay to "allow" one group to enjoy self-pride and force others to ignore their own. Personally, I don't care for natural hair shirts. I changed my hair texture… big deal. The whole reason this is an issue is because WE MAKE hair an issue. (This isn't to say I'm not proud of myself, because I am =D)

  • TiAnna Mae says:

    All in all…I say, "Do you!" For me personally, I live in a predominantly white community, so if I wear a shirt that says something about "natural hair" virtually no one would understand what it was talking about. Also, I don't like to draw attention to myself or be boastful, so I wouldn't wear most natural hair t-shirts.

  • Yirssi says:

    I think the reason why natural hair apparel has become such a business is because our hair is "other" to society. What I mean is, there are t-shirts out there talking about marriage equality, for example, and even though it may be obvious for a lot of people that there should be marriage equality, people still wear them to support the cause.

    Of course, I'm not comparing a beauty staple to an issue as big as gay marriage, but what I'm trying to say is that it's become normal to see it in apparel because it's still not quite as accepted as it should be by society.

  • tianna says:

    this post was such a waste of space. It's called self-expression. I love t-shirts period whether they have slogans, pictures etc.. If you don't like it, don't buy it… Do you!!

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