Updated: May 3, 2019
This purple crown is from Royal House of Wraps
The holidays are coming and who says you can only wrap presents.
Black women have been adorning their heads with beautiful cloths for centuries. It started with something called the Tignon Law.
A tignon (also spelled and pronounced tiyon) is a type of head covering. A large piece of material tied or wrapped around the head to form a kind of turban that somewhat resembles the West African Gele.
Tignon Laws in 1780 forbid a black Creole woman in Louisiana from showing her hair in public. She was attracting too much attention. And yet, the tigon became a beautiful accessory to their beauty instead of a deterrent.
The intent of having the tignon mark inferiority had a somewhat different effect, according to historian Carolyn Long who noted: "Instead of being considered a badge of dishonor, the tignon…became a fashion statement. The bright reds, blues, and yellows of the scarves, and the imaginative wrapping techniques employed by their wearers, are said to have enhanced the beauty of the women of color."
Creole in a Red Headdress
Jacques Guillaume Lucien Amans
The women who were targets of this decree were inventive and imaginative. They decorated tignons with their jewels and ribbons, and used the finest available materials to wrap their hair. In other words, "they effectively re-interpreted the law without technically breaking the law"—and they continued to be pursued by men.
Need some styles to inspire you? We found amazing royal wraps to adorn your head this season. Here are a few of our favs and check out our Pinterest board for countless more.