Models Of Color Are Thriving In Today's Fashion Industry. Do Hair Stylists Need To Go Back To School?

Models Anabel Krasnotsvetova + Olivia Anakwe by Nicolas Kantor for Bobbie Brown Extra Lip Campaign

Models Anabel Krasnotsvetova + Olivia Anakwe by Nicolas Kantor for Bobbie Brown Extra Lip Campaign

Model Olivia Anakwe Calls Out Hairstylists Who Can’t Do Black Hair at Fashion Shows by Jessica Andrews for Teen Vogue

Olivia Anakwe: “Fashion brands are getting praise for being inclusive and casting black models, but they are still not hiring creatives who are skilled enough to style textured hair. "No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist," Anakwe wrote.

Jessica Andrews: For Bustle's "Good Hair" series, writer Faith Cummings reached out to hairstylists to address the disparity in cosmetology schools. She spoke with Topher Gross, a stylist at New York City’s Seagull Salon, who said "it's likely a result of many beauty schools centering their training on fine, straight hair, inherently excluding natural hair and kinkier textures.” He told her, “You [have to] go back to school or [pay to] get extra training for textured, natural, and ethnic hair. That’s a huge problem. Every stylist should know and be trained to cut, style, and/or color all textures [from the start]."

Supermodel Naomi campbell says not much has changed in the fashion industry, when the topic is professional hair stylists who can handle all types of hair. This issue is even more challenging today, given the very significant influx of diverse models into fashion. It’s hard to believe that this diversity trend will be short-lived, as younger consumers demand diversity and inclusivity from brands they support and millions of people of every age are thrilled by the change.

If models of color continue to encounter hair stylists only handling select types of hair and actually having the kind of racial arrogance that Anake has experienced, they should compete for a smaller number of hair stylist slot, opening up new opportunities for hair stylists who have the skills. The designer can fix this issue instantaneously by asking the right questions about his/her fashion show teams. With the dramatic number of models of color walking shows, it seems that several capable, credentialed on all types of hair stylists are needed.

No model of color needs a racial putdown from a hairstylist. Period.

Also, the industry — including rep agencies — must encourage that their hairstylists have these accredited or professionally validated skills in handling all types of hair. If their rosters do not include these hair stylists, the agencies must find them. These credentials should be posted online at their agencies as part of their portfolio. If a hairdresser is only able to handle white girls hair, that fact should be known before booking. There are racial bias changes that are far more difficult to tackle. This is not one of them. Fix it, fashion industry. ~ Anne

Olivia Anake features at AOC