The Return of the Afro to the Catwalk and its Effects on the Natural Hair Movement

While the black natural hair movement has been around since the 1960s, its most notable effects only came around about five years ago when the sales of chemical hair straighteners saw a drop. This was coupled with a number of celebrities such as Solange Knowles, Lupita Nyongo and Tracee Ellis Ross picking to wear their hair natural.

Despite this change, it has been rare to see black natural hair on the catwalk. In most cases, black models’ hair will have been straightened out and pressed flat. The year 2015 though has seen fashion houses embrace the return of the afro in the catwalk.

The greatest endorsement for black natural hair in the year 2015 seems to have been by the fashion power house, Prada, through its late 1960s and early 1970s inspired collection. This major shift was put into place when Lineisy Montero took to the catwalk in a collection reminiscent of the 1970s when chic black women wore their hair natural.

Lineisy Montero on the Prada catwalk

Lineisy Montero on the Prada catwalk

While her afro may have been simply a way to accessorize the 1970s trend, it still made a statement in the fashion trends. The appearance of the natural hair on the catwalk by Prada set off positive energy and a lot of enthusiasm across social media while at the same time launching the career of Lineisy Montero, a native of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

While the Prada runway show appearance was the first for the 19 year old, it is not a wonder that this model became the most talked about new model for the season. According to, Lineisy is the model who owned the catwalk in the year 2015.

During the Spring 2016 Season fashion shows in September which happened to be her second round of fashion week, Lineisy did 68 catwalks. Out of these, she managed to open five thus taking the most important spot on the runway. These impressive appearances are what earned her the top walker position making her the first one of colored models to do so.

Lineisy Montero Louis Vuitton

Lineisy Montero walking for Louis Vuitton Fashion Week 2015

Other than Lineisy, some other models who joined the Fashion lineups with their natural hair include Afrodita Dorado Dominguéz who walked for Balenciaga and Stella McCartney.

Afrodita Dominguez

Afrodita Dominguez

Maria Borges also shunned her hair extensions on the runway to rock a natural afro at the Victoria’s Secret 2015 Fashion Week for the first time.

Maria Borges at the Victoria's Secret Fashion

Maria Borges at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show 2015 with natural hair

Another newcomer model was featured during the Paris Fashion week. Karly Loyce walked for Louis Vuitton in her natural fro.

Karly Loyce during the 2015 Paris Fashion Week

Karly Loyce, on the catwalk for Celine during autumn/winter 2015 Paris Fashion Week

Yet another major step in the black natural hair history was when Miss Jamaica World at the Miss World 2015 by being the first dreadlocked contestant in the pageant. She finished with a top five placing.

Miss Jamaica World 2015, Sanneta Myrie

Miss Jamaica World 2015, Sanneta Myrie

While there can be no denying the power and effect of having a single black natural haired model among slick ponytails in the fashion and beauty aisles, these events send a strong message to women of color. They bring into the fore a new definition of what beauty is in matters of natural hair and the importance of embracing it.

We can only hope that the effects of these events will not only be a part of hair trends in the coming years but that the afro and natural black hair at large will remain long after and resonate forever.