“The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”
Malcolm X, 1962
This series is to showcase one version in the plethora of realities that black people exist in - black women, naturally.
Sumptuary law, what is it? It was instituted in Louisiana under Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miró. This was meant as a means to regulate the style of dress and appearance for creole women of African Ancestry. Mainly, it was enacted to divert white male attention away from these women of color and the natural qualities that make them beautiful. The free and enslaved creole women took this law and transformed into a statement of fashion and style using different textures, jewels, and patterns - this also connected them to their roots and traditions within West African culture which many lost in the African slave trade. In West African Culture, headwraps, or Tignons, were a symbol of beauty, status, wealth and style. Nowadays, there has been an advent of black women wearing and embracing their natural hair and its texture. Concurrently, mainstream media has embraced the qualities of African culture in fashion. Women are often celebrated for eurocentric views of beauty or even exaggerated characters of black women. NOLIA is the opposite. NOLIA is about those women before us that have prefaced the courage and ingenuity that inspires our style & beauty today. NOLIA is a tribute & revolt to the Sumptuary law and other laws/constructs alike, meant to suppress the black woman’s spirit.