Throughout history, women and men of diverse backgrounds have used headwear to demonstrate their beauty, hair care and elements of their culture. Wearing a head-wrap not only offers a sense of community and represents woman’s marital or religious status, but it can also be a symbolic way to defy oppressive forces and to lay claim to one’s heritage, across genders.
In many communities, the head wrap is a sign of age and wisdom, only worn by women of a certain position in life and who are married. It is a signifier of a hierarchical social system based on not only wealth but age and understanding. Different wrap styles and colours are also in certain cultures which indicates more specific information such as the marital status of the individual; whether she is engaged, married or widowed – a practice that extended outside of Africa to the Middle East and even to Europe in the easliest times.
A more common use, that is seen in practically every nation in Africa in this modern day, is the gele as an embellishment and an indication that a celebratory event is occurring. At weddings and family celebrations you would be hard pressed to find a woman without a beautiful and complex, fashioned gele atop her head. It communicates a matriarchal and queenly image, an empowering symbol of feminine elegance and beauty which is why on this crisp new Monday, we’ve got this gele lookbook for you. Scroll down to see….
Got a favourite gele in this lookbook? Do share it with us in the comment box.
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