Since ancient times, across so many cultures and for amyriad of reasons, women have covered their hair — an act tied up in competing notions of freedom and oppression.
The gele is loaded with an immense amount of cultural symbolism. It denotes your social standing, your relationship status, your heritage. It tells you who you are. It is that one fashion accessory you put on that makes your appearance change, you feel good about yourself, and you just feel so very important.
The gele wrap is like one-half to one yard in length and is usually folded in half lengthwise several times until it is about 6 inches wide. The longer the fabric, the larger the head wrap will be. The fabric is wrapped around the head and tied into a knot under the hair at the base of the neck.
Depending on the length, the design may start with the middle at the nape of the neck and the ends first tied at the top of the head. The ends are pulled up and wrapped, sometimes twisted and tucked into the folds at the top of the head or tied into a bow at the side.
A gele master can wrap and tie various shapes and textures into the design. Professional designs can be formed into a fan, hat, flower, or other shapes. The end result may even look like a dish or beehive.
Confused on the gele style to tie for an upcoming event, then scroll down to see these pictures….
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