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Houses On Heads: All In The Name Of Fashion   
 
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06-Sep-2011  
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A fine trajectory can be adduced from a long winding history relative to the evolution of fashion from the fifties down to the sixties, cutting across the seventies through to the eighties, the nineties and today, i.e. a decade after the turn of the millennium.

What did we not see in this country; was it the beetle boots and polar neck shirts – an inheritance of sort from the colonial administration? Or the seventies, during which time bell bottom trousers and miniskirts were in vogue?

Still with the seventies; it is unpardonable to forget the platform shoes popularly known as guarantee, and later on the tunaabu (Ga for barrel of gun) also known as Aboski, the direct opposite of Tunaabu of course, and the hanging nature of these trousers.

Fringe shirts and sparkling attires on the back of Michael Jackson’s invasion of the world’s musical stage cannot be written off, as cannot be the impacts in the nineties of the introduction of batik, commercialization of kente and the infamous Otto Pfister bit.

Fashion has for some reason become a big deal in contemporary times, and understandably so in an era where thanks to technology’s marauding rumble through our lives, we are exposed to all sorts of cultures within the context of a ‘global village.’

Fashion within the context of this piece has got to do with habiliments and their accompaniments, relative to make-ups, footwear, glasses and particularly hair styles – which are in focus in this piece.

Fashion as captured above must have stemmed from the very primary need to cover a persons’ nakedness, (i.e. clothing as per Abraham Maslow’s theory of needs) nakedness here being within the domain of covering one’s physiological privacy.

Covering ourselves as creatures started when the premier creation, Adam and Eve, sinned against God Almighty and were rendered naked, subsequent to which they run to cover themselves, – admittedly some people have alluded to the nakedness aforementioned being within the spiritual realm.

Times have evolved, generations have passed and cultures have advanced without doubt, but sadly a slice through current fashion horizon brings to the fore a mixed bag of weird concepts, the majority of which I dare say are imported, alien few years back.

The human head in all respects stands as a central part of a human being, considering that it is home to the face, which in most situations is the first point of contact from person to person.

Interestingly, the head has also proven to be a centre of interest and of concern to, especially women, relative to which hair style they adopt for which occasion, all coming at great financial costs and with the intent of beautifying their persona.

That’s all well and good except for the fact that the amount of monies that these women sink, some at least on a daily basis and for others for months, has left me wandering what it is at all about investments in the cranium.

Today, hair saloons are dotted all over the place. Every street corner is home to a kiosk or container, wherein women go to make themselves look better than they used to be. And then there are the big time beauty parlours reserved for the crème de la crème of society, business women and fellows with corporate Ghana.

The sickening aspect of it all being that for as long as women/females refuse to grow their natural hair, for reasons best known to them, but resort to fertilizing their hairs, they have options of going scalp bald or using natural or animal hair.

All through the time that I put this piece together, I tried to explore a few of the names that were associated with the ‘wiggy’ fraternity. To my awe, there were a score and over that I came across, and could not help smiling at some of the names.

Outré, Amigo, Amina, Nina, Ninash, City Girl, Grace Plus, Passion, Gold and Top hair are amongst several others that have flooded the Ghanaian market and for which ladies of all strata of society keep falling over each other for.

It could be the natural hair of some Indian girl, Sharepatha Lismira, resident of Bangalore thereabout, or synthetic material that has undergone processes to become a wig; rule out not the possibility of horse hair or fur of other animals.

Whether the wig is worn as a cap, stuck to the skull or to the wearer’s hair with glue, or stitched as I have mostly seen with the natural hair, I find it largely a very interesting accessory many a woman of our days are obsessed with, for God knows what.

Another group of people who have given viability and visibility to these wigs are the organizers of beauty pageants, which have become part of our social makeup in the last decade or so. Hardly do these contestants appear on screen without them.

I have observed with keen ridiculousness and nonsensicality, how most females who appear, especially on the screen – actresses and newscasters – spot different shades, types and colours of artificial hair, allied with make-ups, all because of wanting to look good.

Just on the other side, and interestingly yet another scene that hardly fails on any day to produce artificial hair wig-wearing ladies, is the assembly of witches, with the queen witch and ‘director of wizardry’ usually spotting the biggest wig.

I am not in the least trying to suggest that wig-wearers are synonymous to devils, absolutely not, but the question that arises then is; what happened to natural looks and fundamental aesthetic component that looks good even without much embellishment.

For far too long, we as a people (with cultural dimension in focus) have gradually sat by and stared as the very same cultural values and norms for which we firmly stand, keep eroding by the day.

Causes of this cultural erosion can be hooked directly on the concept of globalization, where we are exposed largely to other cultures; mind you these cultures have people whose natural physiology lends itself to certain physical attributes other than ours.

Why a black person should labour to look like a blonde beats my imagination. The monies that are sunk into the drive to make one’s hair look good certainly is as interesting as is what some of these monies can do.

Indeed, at the religious level – permit my Islamic bias – it is wrong for a Muslim to add any type of hair to her natural hair. The implication is that the person is not content with that which Allah has bestowed on her; hence the effort to change one’s natural look.

In any case, a Muslim lady is expected to wear a veil at any point of the day, except when within the confines of her home. Why then should a person spend money on an adornment they are obliged to cover.

So bad is the situation that aside the involvement of young ladies and the older folk, young girls are gradually being recruited into the world of artificial hair. It indeed is a sight to behold as young girls struggle to keep up with that ‘burden.’

After deciding either to braid ones’ hair, apply hair creams of different types and tasks, conditioners, activators, relaxers and all, then comes the instance of migraines and other health effects that come with a decision aimed at adding beauty.

So whenever by any chance you see the head that stands on the shoulders of that woman who drives that sleek Mercedes, or the other woman who trades from the pan fairly balanced on her hair under the scorching sun, some money must have gone into that, TRUST ME!
 
 
Source: Abdur Rahman Shaban Alfa/Email:[email protected]
 
 

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