The Afro is beautiful, contrary to what the Fashion industry says

During the late 1960s fashions changed with the times, reflecting the independence and identity of a young generation determined to break free from their parents' values and 1950s sensibilities. One reflection of this trend was the increasing popularity of the Afro, a natural hairstyle worn by African Americans that reflected the growing political and cultural progressiveness and self-esteem among black people during the 1960s.

But 50 years later the Afro still has a bad rep. People don't see the beauty and simplicity in it. Its a sensual and beautiful hair style.

But the Afro was also a political statement during the 1960s, and perhaps this is why the bad rep has stayed so long.

The Afro became more than a hairstyle or fashion trend but a political statement that allowed black people to express their cultural and historical identity. The hairstyle emerged out of the Black Power movement, which rejected Dr. Martin Luther King's emphasis on non-violence as a form of political struggle, but instead embraced the idea of progressive defense (ie. If you someone attacks you, you should be prepared to defend yourself).

However the media at the time demonized the Black Power movement, claiming it endorsed violence for the sake of violence, which was wholly untrue. The Black Power movement was about DEFENDING YOURSELF and enjoying the freedoms you are entitled to.

The Black Power Movement, both politically and culturally, offered black people greater expression that moved away from the subservience of their forebears. Natural hairstyles were considered offensive and therefore many black people during the 1950s would process, perm or conk their hairs to attain a texture that was similar to or mimicked white hair. Wigs were also popular among black women.

Only members of the Nation of Islam (people like civil rights leader Malcolm X) rejected processing and straightening, believing that to do so was to embrace notions of white superiority and that the natural attributes of black people were unattractive. Some of the Muslims still wore their hair in short and neat hairstyles, but it kickstarted the movement towards embracing the Afro for its natural beauty.

But by the late 1960s the civil rights movement and political protests had given way to the Black Power Movement, more young African Americans stopped processing their hair and allowed it to grow out naturally, affecting a halo-shaped hairstyle which was dubbed the Afro.

In the beginning, the Afro was not popular in the black community, particularly among older black people who were still driven by older values that the young people were rejecting. By the 1970s the hairstyle grew more prominent as people such as Stokely Carmichael and members of the Black Panthers began wearing the hairstyle. Women, such as feminist Angela Davis, whose Afro was a famous image of the late sixties and early seventies, let their hair grow out as well, fashioning them in large naturals or in Afro puffs (two ponytails tied together by ribbons).

But one person who would make the Afro more acceptable was musician James Brown. Throughout most of Brown's early career he conked his hair, but by the time he recorded "(Say It Loud) I'm Black and I'm Proud" Brown let his hair grow out naturally as a statement of Black pride and self-sufficiency. His song and the Afro came to define Black America during the 1960s fashions and became a political and cultural statement.

Next lets flash forward to 2012...

I hate to be a spoilsport, but I don’t see anything fabulous about Vogue’s Black Allure shoot.

In the unlikely case that you have missed it, their latest gimmick is using hair styles and fashions from the 1920s to 1950s... periods when black people were enticed to conk their hair to look more like white people.

There has already been a lot of criticism the Vogue editorial has received, mostly on the topic of segregation since Vogue likes to include the occasional Asian or black issue of the magazine and then 99% of the time forget that non-white people exist. That criticism is certainly valid and worth saying.

When Vogue first did a black issue in 2008 it sold like hot cakes. People went crazy buying them and so it makes sense that Vogue would try to repeat that simply for the sake of profits... but why make it a rarity? Why not just include more articles for EVERYONE on a regular basis?

Vogue’s editor, Franca Sozzani, may argue and try to convince us that this was a politically conscious decision. But Sozzani knows he is running a business, not a charity. He is thinking about free buzz and sales.

My criticism is more worried about black and other so-called minority women that are so often greatly excluded from the western high-market fashion industry.

Although to be fair who really wants the white standard fashion model which is based on starvation, submission and exploitation just to be considered as something fashionable?

And so when a VOGUE editorial wants to think of oldie goldie times when black people were emancipated but still treated like second class citizens I seriously question his morality. And what is he really promoting? Black people styling their hair to look like white people? Hmm. Or does he just hate the Afro?

Do we really need photos of black women who are starved, submissive and exploited? I think not.

Women need to be empowered, proud and their hair styles should reflect that.

There may be other fashion blogs which have touched on these topics but I was unable to find one. Sad really. The Black Allure spread and the video looks like it could be an ad for a brothel.

And there is nothing empowering about black women being depicted as prostitutes.

It makes you realize that feminism and equality really needs more focus and attention in the fashion industry.

It’s not all doom and gloom however because there are many brands which embrace empowerment of women. Nike shoes for example. Nike is pretty smart about this too... they market to everyone.

After all do you really want to be marketed to as a separate ethnic group and then placed in a stereotype? Or do you want to be able to make your own choices?

Post-Feminism (the belief that all women have a choice) says that in order for women to make choices they need to know all their options. When choosing fashion or hair styles we need those options so we can show who we really are on the outside.

Telling women they should wear hair styles from the 1920s isn't a choice. Its not even a trend or a fad. Sure, its nice to look at and its nice to have that option, but where is the Afros?

Think about it. Why did Vogue only pick hair styles from the 1920s to 1950s? Its because the 1960s meant Afros and they didn't want to get into that topic. They want to steer women away from the option.

But I say they're wrong.

In the 21st century we now have white women and asian women getting afro-style perms. They're doing it as a fashion statement and because they've recognized its beautiful. Because it is beautiful.

The Horror of Fashion Sweatshops

By Imogen Reed - April 2012.

The National Labor Committee (NLC) and the The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights have just produced a shocking report into the fashion empire headed by Peter Nygård, the purported ‘number one sportswear manufacturer in Canada’, and 70th richest Canadian with a net worth of $817 million. Quite a success story for the Finnish son of immigrant bakers, who will have known their share of struggle. Strange then that a man from such humble beginnings should be shown to be so indifferent to the working conditions of other poor workers, highlighted in the report, Dirty Clothes (April, 2010).

The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights is a non-profit human rights organization ‘dedicated to the promotion and defense of internationally recognized worker rights in the global economy.’ Their investigative work in Jordan has brought the most appalling human rights abuses to light, abuses that should concern anyone with an interest in the fashion industry or clothing manufacture. We cannot divorce ourselves from the responsibility to speak out on these issues, or enjoy a passion for fashion in good conscience while these practices are still widespread.

Peter Nygård’s Business Empire

Peter Nygård has built his brand successfully, using 1,200 mainly young female workers from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India to sew his garments in the IBG factory in Jordan. However, the workers have been brought to Jordan only to find a world of pain and suffering at the hands of Peter Nygård’s organisation, and he himself has done nothing to stop the human rights abuses happening in the factories he owns. The list of suffering is almost unbelievable and it is to the credit of the NLC that they took on a private investigation, which brought matters to the world’s attention. Please read the Dirty Clothes report and circulate it as widely as possible, to raise awareness of the young women who are being exploited and enslaved by Peter Nygård, and other large manufacturing groups. You will never see mass produced fashion in the same way again. So what is the heart of the story? Let’s look at it in a little more detail.

Human Rights Violations in Peter Nygård’s Factories

So what did the NCL report uncover? The women arriving to work in IBG factories, who produce clothing for Nygård, were stripped of their passports on arrival and kept in conditions of indentured servitude according to the report. They were forced to work sixteen-hour shifts from 7 a.m to 11 p.m, every night of the week. On top of this there are compulsory, night long 23-hour shifts required of the workers, at least once a week, which run from 7 a.m to 6 a.m. 

This is nothing short of human slavery. 

For this 110-hour week they are paid less than half of the legal wage, just 35 cents an hour. When they objected they were hit and threatened with deportation. This is in clear breach of Jordanian labor laws. According to Jordanian law, overtime must be voluntary and must not exceed 14 hours a week, or 60 hours per month. Yet IBG workers are routinely forced to work 102 ½ hours a week, including 54 ½ hours of overtime, exceeding Jordan's legal limit by 289 per cent. Hardly a minor lapse.

The exhaustion suffered by one worker from Sri Lanka, on February 9th 2010, was so extreme that she stumbled into the path of a truck as she walked to her accommodation after a 39 hour shift. She was died of her injuries.

Furthermore, the report uncovered serious allegations of sexual harassment, rape and even the death of some workers who could not sustain the level of work required of them. With young children at home dependent on the wages the women earned many will endure these conditions to ensure the survival of their families. But exploiting women’s human wish to feed their children should not be part of any modern day manufacturing process. It’s a return to the worst conditions of the early Industrial Revolution. 
Who Is To Blame?

Who is in charge of this operation in Jordan and responsible for the conditions? Mr. Anup Sharma, is the head manager for both IBG factories.  Mr. Ahamed Khan is the logistics manager for IBG, and Mr. Arlok is another manager. The women suffering under their regime are mainly between the ages of 18 and 30. NCL produced evidence that the major producer in IBG factory 1 is Nygard, with its Alia, TanJay and Investments (Slim Fx) clothing lines being produced there.

Under the management regime of these men, young women are docked two days wages if they miss a shift for whatever reason. The wages themselves are pitiful, falling far below the legal rates demanded by Jordanian labor laws. How can a company whose owner is worth $817 million not afford to pay its workers a legal wage? Managers at these companies manage to evade responsibility for the workers in their care, some of them little more than children themselves. NCL believes it is time to name and shame those whose actions have led to human right violations.

Filthy Living Conditions

When the workers have finished these exhausting shifts they must walk for half and hour to reach their dormitories for their permitted 5½ sleep. It is a dangerous journey down a busy unmade road, and transport for them has been refused by management. Their accommodation can only be described as ‘unfit for human habitation’. Filthy, infested with insects, vermin and bed-bugs, with no heating and only sporadic access to water for a few hours a day, the women somehow attempt to survive in these conditions.

Peter Nygård’s IBG sweatshops are owned by G4S, the world's largest security service company. At no time have any employees stepped in to try and protect these vulnerable women, who can be paid as little as 9 cents for making a pair of pants which will sell in stores for $38. The mark ups are astonishing and it is not hard to see how Nygård has made his millions. But what price a clear conscience? How is it possible for a decent man to sleep at night – probably on the world’s best memory foam mattress with silk sheets - knowing that vulnerable women, far from home, are being abused and enslaved like this, in order to drive his profits? The answer is clearly that Nygård simply doesn’t care. If it were not for the work of determined humanitarian campaigners the world would be unaware of these shocking practices.

Indentured Slavery

Not only do workers have to endure these conditions, they have to pay for the privilege too. The report is worth quoting here, on the issue of indentured slavery:

In their home countries, the workers had to pay large amounts of money to local broker agencies to purchase their three-year contracts to work in Jordan.  In the case of Bangladesh, the workers had to pay 120,000 to 160,000 taka --$1,735 to $2,313-to purchase their work contracts.  It may not seem like a lot of money to people in Canada or the U.S., but the average cost of work contracts, $2,024, is more than a year's regular wages in Jordan, which is $1,860.46.  It is common that whole extended families have to go into debt to send a daughter to Jordan.  Interest rates in the informal sector are also extraordinarily high, so there is tremendous pressure on the young workers to toil long hours to pay back these loans.

The IBG guest workers' contracts guaranteed that they would receive free and decent accommodation, food and health care in Jordan.  This turned out to be a lie.
NCL Report, Dirty Clothes, April 2010

Call For Action – Fashion Lovers Unite

Canadians are known for their fairness, gentleness and mild manner. It is no surprise then that campaigners are calling for an end to these practices and are turning the heat up on Nygård personally. With Wal-Mart proposing to expand their production work to the Jordanian factories it is long past time for reform. For Nygård’s operation to pull out now would mean financial ruin for the women workers, who have already suffered enough. Demands are now being made for Nygård to simply do the decent thing – pay a fair (and legal) wage, house his workers in decent conditions, stop the abuse and shorten the hours these modern day slaves are being forced to endure. Action is needed, and we are hopeful that fair-minded Canadians will boycott Nygård’s clothing lines until things improve.

People have attempted to create Facebook groups promoting the boycott of Nygård's products but his lawyers always pull some strings and have the groups deleted.

Why is he covering things up so much unless he has a lot to hide?

Knitted Bikinis

I know it isn't summer yet, but I can't wait to try out my new knitted bikini.

I think knitted bikinis are beyond fabulous. Yes, you could buy a store bought bikini like everyone else... but if you have a beautiful figure and want to REALLY stand out... then knitted bikinis are by far the kewlest.

You can find lots of really nice knitted bikinis on Etsy. Or you can make your own...


Instructions for bra top are written for A-cup size. Any changes for B- and C-cup sizes are written in brackets. If there is only one figure it applies to all sizes. Bottoms are one-size. Standard abbreviations are used. Recommended for knitters and crocheters with some experience.

You need:
1 hank Butterfly Super 10 (125 g) pure cotton yarn, No. 3401 Orange
One pair of 4.5 mm needles OR whichever needles you require to produce the tension given below
One 4.25 mm crochet hook
Stitch markers
Tapestry needle
Clear elastic knitting thread
12.5 cm (5 ins) square of swimsuit lining in desired colour (optional)
Matching thread (optional)


20 sts and 26 rows = 10 cm (4 ins) in stocking stitch. Work to exact tension with specified yarn to obtain satisfactory results. TO SAVE TIME, TAKE TIME TO CHECK TENSION.

BRA CUP (make 2):
With knitting needles, cast on 29(33,37) sts.
Row 1 (right side): Knit.
Row 2: Purl.
*Row 3: K1, sl1, k1, psso, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. 27(31,35) sts now on needle.
Row 4: Purl.
Row 5: Knit.
Row 6: Purl.
Rep from * 4(6,8) times more, ending with right side facing for next row. 19 sts now on needle.
**Next row: K1, sl1, k1, psso, [yo, k2tog] to last 2 sts, k2tog. 17 sts now on needle.
Next row: Purl.
Rep from ** 6 times more, ending with right side facing for next row. 5 sts now on needle.
Next row: Purl.
Next row: K1, sl1, k2tog, psso, k1. 3 sts now on needle.
Next: P3tog (top point of cup), sl rem st onto crochet hook and, with right side facing, ch 3, work 20(24,28) hdc evenly down first side edge, ch 3 at corner, work 21(25,29) hdc evenly across bottom edge, ch 3 at corner, work 20(24,28) hdc evenly up second side edge, then sl st to 2nd ch of first ch 3, fasten off.


With right side facing, sl st to ch 3 sp at bottom right-hand corner of first cup, then [ch 3, hcd] in same sp, hdc in each st along bottom edge to left-hand corner, ch 5, hdc in ch 3 sp at bottom right-hand corner of second cup, then hdc in each st along bottom edge of second cup to last st, 2 hdc in ch 3 sp at bottom left-hand corner of second cup, ch 3, turn.

Row 2: 2 hdc in first ch 3 sp, hdc in each st to last st, 2 hdc in last ch 3 sp, ch 3, turn.

Row 3: 2 hdc in first ch 3 sp, hdc in each st to last st, 2 hdc in last ch 3 sp, then work chain st to create strap 52 cm (20-1/2 ins) long, fasten off.

Sl st to first st on outside corner of rem cup, then work same-length strap in same manner.


Cast on 41 sts (front top edge).
*Row 1 (right side): K1, sl1, k1, psso, [yo, k2tog] to last 2 sts, k2tog. 39 sts now on needle.
Row 2: Purl.
Rep from * 4 times more. 31 sts now on needle.
Work St st, dec 1 st at each end of needle on every alt row 8 times, place marker. 15 sts now on needle.

Work even in St st until crotch from marker measures 12.5 cm (5 ins) or desired length, ending with right side facing for next row.

Work St st, inc 1 st at each end of needle on every row 23 times, place marker. 61 sts now on needle. (Note: If desired, widen and lengthen back by inc number of sts in rows, taking into consideration that crocheted edging will add 1 cm/3/8 in at each edge.)

Work even in St st until back from marker measures 19.5 cm (7-1/2 ins), cast off to last st, sl rem st onto crochet hook and, with right side facing, ch 3, work 62 hdc evenly along first side edge, ch 3 at corner, work 31 hdc evenly across top front edge, ch 3 at corner, work 62 hdc evenly along second side edge, ch 3 at corner, work 40 hdc evenly across top back edge, sl st to 2nd ch of first ch 3, then work chain st to create strap 39.5 cm (15-1/2 ins) long, fasten off.

One at a time, sl st to each rem corner on front and back, then work same-length strap in same manner.


Using elastic, hand-sew line of running sts just inside each side edge of cups and bottoms. If desired, cut lining (having greatest stretch from front to back) piece about 6 mm (1/4 in) larger than crotch around edge, press under 1 cm (3/8 in) around edge; with matching thread, slipstitch in place to wrong side.


Business Casual on a Budget

Need to buy clothes for work but don't want to break your wallet? Here is 12 ways to get clothes suitable for work without spending a lot.

#1. Talk to friends and family members and see if they have any conservative / business casual clothing that is suitable for work that they don't need any more.

#2. Trade clothes with friends, roommates, etc.

#3. Thrift stores rock! Just look for things that are conservative and clean.

When in doubt SMELL the fabric and your nose will give you an idea of how clean it is and whether you can wear that to work and still hold your head up high.

#4. Salvation Army

#5. Craigslist, but be careful.

#6. Set a budget for how much you want to spend.

#7. Determine what bits of clothing you already have and don't need more of. ie. You probably don't need more shoes, even though you think you do.

#8. Divide up your budget and allocate so much for specific items and then find items that are suitable that are under the allocated amount. DO NOT GO OVER IT.


#10. When your shopping is done and there is moolah left over put it in a jar for the next time you need to go buy clothing for work. Repeat the same process as before.

#11. Remember you can combine various clothing items to make a new look. That way you don't look like you wearing the same thing all the time.

#12. Have fun with your accessories. Like #11 above you can create a whole new look when different things are used in combination.

The Oxymoron that is Business Casual

Business casual isn't really casual at all.

Its an ever growing set of RULES, forced upon people by the more strict and conservative members of the office to the point that its not casual any more. Its strictly business and really just a list of what is allowed and not allowed.

And the list of what is not allowed gets longer depending on who you talk to.

Remember your company's objective in establishing a business casual dress code, is to allow our employees to work comfortably in the workplace while maintaining a professional image for customers, potential employers, clients and community visitors.

Thus business casual is a dress code and there is no standard set of rules. Thus the article you are about to read might include some rules you feel are TOO STRICT or even TOO LENIENT depending on your personal tastes.


Clothing that reveals too much cleavage, your back, your chest, your feet, your stomach or your underwear is not appropriate for a place of business, even in a business casual setting. (I've seen this far too often... but the question then becomes how much cleavage is too much???)


Even in a business casual work environment, clothing should be pressed and never wrinkled. Torn, dirty, or frayed clothing is unacceptable. All seams must be finished.


Any clothing that has words, terms, or pictures that may be offensive to other employees is unacceptable. Clothing that has the company logo is encouraged. Sports team, university, and fashion brand names on clothing are generally acceptable, but some people might disagree and say its too risque to wear hockey shirts to work.


Certain days can be declared dress down days, generally called Casual Fridays... However this is really just business casual with slightly more rules and a little more cleavage allowed. On these days, jeans and other more casual clothing, although never clothing potentially offensive to others, are allowed. But really that is it... jeans and more cleavage. The rest of the rules are basically enforced and catty people will be doubly sure to complain if they don't like your casual Friday clothes.


No dress code can cover all contingencies so employees must exert a certain amount of judgment in their choice of clothing to wear to work. There will always be some catty office person who has reason to complain. If you experience uncertainty about acceptable, professional business causal attire for work, please ask your supervisor or your Human Resources staff. At least then you asked beforehand and can pass the buck if anyone complains.

Rule #6. PANTS

Slacks that are similar to Dockers and other makers of cotton or synthetic material pants, wool pants, flannel pants, dressy capris, and nice looking dress synthetic pants are acceptable. Black, white or navy jeans with no rips are also considered appropriate. Inappropriate slacks or pants include ripped jeans/multi-coloured jeans, sweatpants, exercise pants, Bermuda shorts, short shorts, shorts, bib overalls, leggings, and any spandex or other form-fitting pants such as people wear for biking.


Casual dresses and skirts, and skirts that are split at or below the knee are acceptable (although really conservative people might insist on calf). Dress and skirt length should be at a length at which you can sit comfortably in public without people seeing up your skirt. Short, tight skirts that ride halfway up the thigh are considered inappropriate for work. Mini-skirts, skorts, sun dresses, beach dresses, and spaghetti-strap dresses are inappropriate for the office.

Rule #8. SHIRTS

Casual shirts, dress shirts, sweaters, tops, golf-type shirts, and turtlenecks are acceptable attire for work. Most suit jackets or sport jackets are also acceptable attire for the office, if they violate none of the other listed guidelines. Inappropriate attire for work includes tank tops; midriff tops; shirts with potentially offensive words, terms, logos, pictures, cartoons, or slogans; halter-tops; tops with bare shoulders; sweatshirts, and t-shirts unless worn under another blouse, shirt, jacket, or dress.

Rule #9. SHOES

Conservative (black or brown) athletic or walking shoes, loafers, clogs, sneakers, boots, flats, dress heels, and leather deck-type shoes are acceptable for work. Grey or white might also be acceptable depending on the place. Flashy athletic, flip-flops, slippers, and any shoe with an open toe are not acceptable in the office. Closed toe and closed heel shoes are required in the manufacturing operation area. Some places might REQUIRE steel toed shoes / boots.


Wearing no stockings is acceptable in warm weather. Thongs and other bits of lingerie should not be visible through your clothing. ie. Don't wear low cut pants with a thong and bend over a lot...

Rule #11. PERFUME

Remember, that some employees are allergic to the chemicals in perfumes and make-up, so wear these substances with restraint. When in doubt ask.

Rule #12. JEWELRY

Should be in good taste, with limited visible body piercing. Piercings are okay, but try to be pierced in locations people won't see at work.


Hats are not appropriate in the office. Head Covers that are required for religious purposes or to honor cultural traditions are allowed.


See what I mean? Its not casual at all. Its basically an uniform. You might as well contact a company that makes school uniforms and ask if they could make uniforms for everyone in the office. At least then people could just wear the uniform and not worry about what is acceptable. (Some offices actually do this.)

4 Fun and Easy Summer Hair Styles

#1. The Messy Bun:

1. Gather your hair in a semi-loose ponytail in the place you would like the bun on your head.

2. With one hand gripping the base of the ponytail firmly, use the other hand to twist the ponytail until it starts to wrap around itself.

3. Continue to twist slightly as you wrap the ponytail into a bun.

4. Once wrapped completely, you can take a hair tie and wrap around the base of the bun making sure the tip of the ponytail is secure. You can also secure the bun by sticking bobby pins in and around the base of the bun.

#2. Bohemian French Twist:

1. Loosely gather your hair in a ponytail at the nape of your neck.

2. Very loosely twist your hair out (away from your head), then up.

3. Then loosely tuck your hair into itself and secure with a bobby pin.

#3. Braids:

1. Separate your hair into two sections, either down the center or where you part your hair.

2. Loosely french braid one of the sections of hair along the side of your head, and continuing into a normal braid. Do the same with the other section.

3. Once both sides are braided, wrap each braid around the back of your head, tucking them into the other braid and securing them in place with a bobby pin or two.

#4. A Twisty Ponytail:

1. Gather your hair very loosely in a low ponytail, away from your head a bit and secure with a hair tie.

2. Remember the "topsytail"? Well this part is sort of like that....only without the "topsy". Stick your finger in your hair, just above the hair
tie, parting the hair in two sections. Thread the tip of the ponytail through the part you've created, creating a twist just above the ponytail.

3. Now be creative!! With the ponytail, you can secure a bun just under the twist. Create a unique knot, or three. Make a braid to wrap in a knot.

French Side Braid Video + Photos

Here is some awesome photos of a French side braid plus a video of how to do it yourself. Awesome!

Funky Nails

Got too much time on your hands and lots of extra nail polish?

Give yourself some funky nails!

Popular Posts

Search This Blog

Need to Advertise?

The FASHION SALON is accepting sponsors. Why? Because we're totally awesome and we can always use more shoes... and handbags... and shirts... jeans... you know, stuff!

Email suzannemacnevin{atsymbol} and ask about our advertising and sponsorship rates.